‘Systematic Mapping’ Method Identifies Gaps In Research

The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) in consultation with the Eppi Centre has brought the majority of the available research studies on parental mental health problems and child welfare together for the first time in a systematic map of the research. Using the ‘systematic mapping’ research method – developed in health and education research – SCIE has developed the first social care ‘map’ of research on the extent of parental mental health problems in the UK, the impact of those problems and the interventions available.

The map is a research tool that can be searched using key words and free text. It identifies gaps in literature on parental mental health, such as the lack of research using male participants and the few studies considering the accessibility of the available interventions. It will be an extremely useful resource for commissionees, practitioners, researchers, students and everyone with an interest in parental mental health.

Speaking about the systematic mapping, SCIE’s Head of Knowledge Services, Amanda Edwards, said: “Systematic mapping is a significant development in SCIE’s ongoing work to build a knowledge base for social care. Coding and categorising the majority of what is known on a topic, maps make an important contribution to the development of the evidence base and also identify gaps in literature – enabling social care organisations to commission more effective and relevant research.”

SCIE has also produced a systematic mapping report – describing mapping methodology and providing an overview of the literature in the parental mental health map. The map and report will inform a set of systematic reviews, SCIE/NICE guidelines for parental mental health and further research in the area of parental mental health.

To read the report The extent and impact of parental mental health problems on families and the acceptability, accessibility and effectiveness of interventions and access the parental mental health map visit www.scie.org.uk

The references (without abstracts) contained in the map are available in a searchable database: http://eppi.ioe.ac.uk/webdatabases/intro.aspx?ID=9

The database allows you to search for records within the systematic map, according to questions such as what type of setting an intervention used, and by freetext such as author names.