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In their 2014 article Strengthening the evidence base for health programming in humanitarian crises, Ager et al highlighted the importance for developing a stronger evidence base for health interventions in humanitarian crisis contexts given the current scale and complexity of responses to humanitarian crises. The very nature of humanitarian crises means there are barriers to conducting scientifically rigorous research. The same standards of methodological and statistical rigour used in other fields should be adopted if a sound evidence base for response in crises is to be established. Meeting such standards requires methodological adaptation and evolution. Methodologies have to be matched not only with the specific practical and ethical constraints of a humanitarian setting but also with the current status of knowledge in their field of focus. A combination of studies is needed that address proof-of-concept research, acceptability and feasibility evaluations, and the creation of new tools, in addition to evidence of comparative effectiveness. Robust methodologies suited to crisis settings have to be developed and used to assess interventions with potential for delivery at scale.
This panel will facilitate the sharing of experience on research methodology adaptation and innovation, and related considerations such as ethics, gained over the past 5 years.