Ruth Jacqueline Stewart

Ruth Jacqueline Stewart
University of London · Evidence-Informed Policy Team, CfAR, University of Johannesburg

BA, MA, PhD

About

82
Publications
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Publications

Publications (82)
Technical Report
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Women’s economic empowerment is both a means and an end in international development. Following Sen’s definition of Development as Freedom (Sen 1999), economic empowerment is an essential capability to live the life one has reason to value and can therefore be seen as an outcome of development in its own right. Gender empowerment is also one of the...
Article
Full-text available
For decades, researchers, knowledge brokers and policymakers have been working to increase the use of evidence in policymaking. This has spanned a wide range of approaches, from developments in evidence generation, to efforts to increase demand amongst decision-makers, and everything in between. Policymakers are central in this process, and we have...
Article
Full-text available
Background: There has long been an assumption that Africa has low levels of impact evaluation capacity and that when impact evaluations are conducted in the region, they need to be led and conducted by researchers from the North. The Africa Centre for Evidence at the University of Johannesburg conducted a scoping study on impact evaluation capacity...
Article
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As Covid-19 sweeps across the globe, one of the biggest questions in many minds is ‘how will this crisis affect Africa?’ (Nyenswah, 2020; Pillay, 2020; Wood, 2020; World Bank, 2020a). Fears abound that the pandemic will multiply and deepen existing socio-economic issues, such as high levels of unemployment,poverty, and inequality.
Article
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The evidence-informed approach to policy-making and implementation is, at its core, about better decisions for a better future. It is focused on the effective use of scarce resources, on avoiding harm and maximising good. It is grounded in principles of equity and equality, of accountability and transparency. Given these characteristics, for those...
Article
Full-text available
Big international development donors such as the UK’s Department for International Development and USAID have recently started using systematic review as a methodology to assess the effectiveness of various development interventions to help them decide what is the ‘best’ intervention to spend money on. Such an approach to evidence-based decision-ma...
Article
Full-text available
This article proposes a new model to support the use of evidence by decision-makers. There has been increased emphasis over the last 15 years on the use of evidence to inform decision-making at policy and practice levels but the conceptual thinking has not kept pace with practical developments in the field. We have developed a new demand-side model...
Technical Report
Full-text available
This paper investigates stakeholder engagement with decision-making and research for international aid and social development, to encourage decisions that are both evidence-informed and appropriate to their context. The vision is for policy makers, programme managers and practitioners making decisions to engage with formal research about causal rel...
Article
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In low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), women’s participation in wage labour is significantly lower than that of men. In addition, women’s participation is often clustered in particular sectors of the economy that are not well-remunerated and have lower prestige. Higher growth economic sectors such as ICT and finance are dominated by men, excl...
Article
This article is based on the consensus that the availability and utilisation of research enhances policy discussions. The article reflects on the experiences within one approach: capacity building through mentoring. The UJ-BCURE programme aimed to increase the capacity of decision-makers to use evidence in decision-making via mentoring models. Ment...
Article
As part of the Global Evidence Summit in Cape Town in September 2017, Prof Ruth Stewart gave the keynote addressing the question of ‘Do evidence networks make a difference?’. The following text is based closely on that opening address. She outlines how evidence networks make a difference by building our shared understanding across the evidence ecos...
Article
Full-text available
As a methodology designed to inform policy and practice decisions, it is particularly important to ensure that systematic reviews are shaped by those who will use them. There is a broad range of approaches for engagement of the potential users of reviews that aim to elicit their priorities and needs and incorporate these into the review design. Thi...
Article
The concept of what a per diem is and who should receive one is a complex idea that, within the development context, can either support or hinder the achievement of development projects’ goals. This paper seeks to explain the evolving nature of per diems and their use within the development context; explore how they serve as barriers or enablers in...
Article
Objective To identify, appraise, and synthesize studies of interventions to improve labor market outcomes of adults in developing countries with physical and/or sensory disabilities. Method Systematic review methods, following Campbell Collaboration guidelines, were utilized. A comprehensive search was used to identify relevant studies published b...
Article
Full-text available
In this article, we examine a key premise underlying evidence-informed decisionmaking (EIDM) – that research is for all, including service users and potential users, service providers and a wide range of decision-makers, from those running local services to national government officials and international agencies. Qualitative data collected on term...
Article
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The first international Collaboration for Environmental Evidence (CEE) conference took place in August 2016 at the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm with nearly 100 participants from 14 countries. This conference reflected and contributed to the growth of a global network of people interested in the production and use of evidence synth...
Article
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People have a stake in conservation and environmental management both for their own interests and the sake of the environment itself. Environmental decision-making has changed somewhat in recent decades to account for unintentional impacts on human wellbeing. The involvement of stakeholders in environmental projects has been recognised as critical...
Article
Full-text available
To maximise the potential impact and acceptability of EIDM capacity building, there is a need for programmes to coordinate their remits within existing systems, playing both ‘insider’ and ‘outsider’ roles. Through a review of the South African evidence-policy landscape and analysis of a stakeholder event that brought together EIDM role players, thi...
Article
Decision makers’ capacity to use evidence is a key component of evidence-informed decision making (EIDM) at a policy level. This paper describes a unique combination of EIDM workshops and mentoring to build decision makers’ capacity to use evidence. It reflects how the deliberate design of sequential workshop and mentoring capacity-building activit...
Article
Background: Conducting a systematic review in social policy is a resource-intensive process in terms of time and funds. It is thus important to understand the scope of the evidence base of a topic area prior to conducting a synthesis of primary research in order to maximize these resources. One approach to conserving resources is to map out the av...
Article
The effective use of public policy to reduce poverty and inequality in southern Africa requires an increased use of research evidence to inform decision making. There is an absence of clear evidence as to how best to encourage evidence-informed decision making, and how to build capacity among decision makers in the use of research. This paper propo...
Article
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The systematic application of rigorous evidence to inform the design and implementation of development policies and programmes has the potential to positively influence development outcomes. To achieve such evidence-informed development, a process of generating, transmitting, and using high-quality, policy-relevant evidence of development effective...
Article
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Systematic reviews of research are increasingly recognised as important for informing decisions across policy sectors and for setting priorities for research. Although reviews draw on international research, the host institutions and countries can focus attention on their own priorities. The uneven capacity for conducting research around the world...
Article
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BACKGROUND Many poor people living in Africa depend on their small farms for survival. There has been a lot of interest in trying to reduce poverty in the region by supporting these farmers to produce more and make a profit from their farms. This has included providing training programmes for farmers and introducing new products and farming techniq...
Article
Full-text available
The objectives of this Campbell systematic review were: • 1) To describe the range and diversity of interventions available for addressing the low labour market participation of adults with physical and/or sensory disabilities in developing country contexts. • 2) To systematically identify, assess, and synthesise the evidence on the effects of int...
Conference Paper
Driven by the demand for evidence of development effectiveness, the field of mobile learning for development (ML4D) has recently begun to adopt rigorous evaluation methods. Using the findings of an ongoing systematic review of ML4D interventions, this paper critically assesses the value proposition of rigorous impact evaluations in ML4D. While a dr...
Article
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Background: Urban Agriculture is considered to contribute to improved food security among the income poor in urban contexts across developing countries. Much literature exists on the topic assuming a positive relationship. The aim of this review was to collect and analyse available evidence on the impact of urban agriculture in low and middle-incom...
Article
This paper presents a coherent framework for designing and evaluating public involvement in research by drawing on an extensive literature and the authors' experience. The framework consists of three key interrelated dimensions: the drivers for involvement; the processes for involvement and the impact of involvement. The pivotal point in this frame...
Article
Full-text available
The importance of systematic review evidence in the design and implementation of policies and interventions is increasingly recognised in the field of international development. This article presents a stocktake of the primary years of systematic reviewing in international development, providing a thematic overview of what we have learned about con...
Article
This paper presents a methodology that is increasingly being adopted in international development, namely systematic review. It starts from the premise that rigorous and structured systematic reviews of research evidence have the potential to ‘change the world’ by providing accurate comprehensive summaries of knowledge for decision-makers, and goes...
Article
Relevant systematic reviews and impact evaluations were systematically sought and described in order to assess the size and nature of the evidence-base about the effectiveness of interventions for smallholder farmers in Africa. A total of 21 relevant systematic reviews and 415 reports of impact evaluations were identified. This paper describes this...
Article
This research reviews evidence on microfinance interventions in low-and middle-income countries, and in sub-Saharan Africa in particular, to consider the impact on the individuals and communities they claim to serve. IOE Research Briefings are short descriptions of significant research findings, based on the wide range of projects carried out by IO...
Article
Full-text available
Background Issues of food security and nutrition have wide reaching implications for people and their environments, particularly in low and middle-income countries. One proposed solution is urban agriculture, which has been widely upheld as a solution to the food-crisis facing increasingly metropolitan populations. It is believed to provide the urb...
Article
BACKGROUND: Issues of food security and nutrition have wide reaching implications for people and their environments, particularly in low and middle-income countries. One proposed solution is urban agriculture, which has been widely upheld as a solution to the food-crisis facing increasingly metropolitan populations. It is believed to provide the ur...
Article
Full-text available
Big international development donors such as the UK’s Department for International Development and USAID have recently started using systematic review as a methodology to assess the effectiveness of various development interventions to help them decide what is the ‘best’ intervention to spend money on. Such an approach to evidence-based decision-ma...
Article
This paper is based on a systematic review of evidence of the impact of microfinance on the lives of poor women, men and children in sub‐Saharan Africa. It focuses specifically on longer‐term non‐financial outcomes related to health and nutrition and education. The paper contrasts microfinance's early days' initially refreshing and encouraging prom...
Article
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Systematic review methodology pioneered in health care has been increasingly applied to development questions of importance in lower- and middle-income countries. This paper reports one such review on the topic of microfinance in sub-Saharan Africa and reflects on the number of pragmatic methodological compromises made when applying the method to a...
Article
Health research funders in the UK now ask applicants to state how their research will involve patients and members of the public. Such involvement can help with questions that researchers repeatedly face: about improving trial recruitment, response rates and follow-up. Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) in research is usually presented in the for...
Article
Full-text available
Microfinance is seen as a key development tool, and despite the current deepening crisis within the industry, it continues to grow in sub-Saharan Africa. We systematically reviewed the evidence of the impacts of micro-credit and micro-savings on poor people in sub-Saharan Africa. We considered impacts on income, savings, expenditure, and the accumu...
Book
Full-text available
Micro-leasing, micro-credit and micro-savings are three financial inclusion interventions which have the potential to transform the lives of those with limited access to financial services. In theory they have the potential to enable investment in income generating activities, consumption smoothing and financial planning. In December 2011 a working...
Data
Full-text available
This paper explores the role of patient panels for shaping research for health, scientific research about health and illness, and applied medical research. After examining the history and purposes of involving patients in discussions and decision making for research, it outlines the expertise and skills required if panels are to be successful. The...
Chapter
This chapter explores translational research for policy development and describes the service development and practice development which follows. We used a participative model of public and practitioner involvement in evidence-informed policy to create a collaborative network for the development of national newborn blood spot screening policy in th...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Critical appraisal is the process of assessing and interpreting evidence by systematically considering its validity, results and relevance to an individual's work. Within the last decade critical appraisal has been added as a topic to many medical school and UK Royal College curricula, and several continuing professional development ve...
Chapter
Systematic reviews provide a means of drawing together current best evidence for patients to share decisions about their care with their health professionals, confident that the evidence they have is the most rigorous available. When combined with public involvement in guiding research and policy, there is potential for systematic reviews to be see...
Data
Background If research addresses the questions of relevance to patients and clinicians, decision‐makers will be better equipped to design and deliver health services which meet their needs. To this end, a number of initiatives have engaged patients and clinicians in setting research agendas. This paper aimed to scope the research literature address...
Article
Full-text available
This paper explores translational research for policy development, and describes the service development and practice development which follows. We used a participative model of public and practitioner involvement in evidence-informed policy to create a collaborative network for the development of national newborn blood spot screening policy in the...
Article
Background If research addresses the questions of relevance to patients and clinicians, decision-makers will be better equipped to design and deliver health services which meet their needs. To this end, a number of initiatives have engaged patients and clinicians in setting research agendas. This paper aimed to scope the research literature address...
Article
Policy decisions to expand newborn screening and support informed choice prompted a review of information for parents and resources to support health professionals. The UK Newborn Screening Programme Centre conducted a needs assessment to Identify training needs. We took into account existing reports of training needs as well as conducting our own...
Article
New national policies and standards for newborn blood spot screening for some uncommon but serious conditions indicate that health visitors may have an increasingly important role in supporting parents. This may include offering support and guidance through times of uncertainty and hearing bad news about their baby's screening result. The U.K. Newb...
Article
Full-text available
Critical appraisal training aims to encourage evidence-based decision-making and ultimately improve health outcomes for patients. Such training must arguably be participatory, multi-disciplinary and problem-based if it is to equip health professionals for problem solving within a modern health service. To explore whether critical appraisal training...
Article
Full-text available
The gap between what is known and what is done about public health (the evidence-practice gap) needs addressing. One solution may be through mixed and participatory training in accessing and appraising research. Residential workshops trained policy-makers, practitioners and researchers from seven southern-African countries in evidence-based decisio...
Article
Objective To examine parents’ and health professionals’ views on informed choice in newborn blood spot screening, and assess information and communication needs. Design and participants A qualitative study involving semi-structured telephone interviews and focus groups with 47 parents of children who were either found to be affected or unaffected b...
Article
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Objective To appraise information resources on newborn blood spot screening currently available for parents and health professionals internationally. Method Health information on newborn blood spot screening was sourced internationally through the internet and, in the United Kingdom, through health service providers and support organisations. An ap...
Article
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Background Health care decision-making requires research evidence and good judgement. This applies to policy making, as much as it does to deci sions about an individual's care. We have attempted to employ the principles of patient involvement and evidence-based medicine to the development of policies for communication about newborn blood spot scre...
Article
The U.K. Newborn Screening Programme Centre (UKNSPC) launched the first UK-wide standards and policies for newborn blood spot screening, together with a national pre-screening information leaflet for parents in December 2004. These standards are included in a document pack that has been sent recently to all heads of midwifery and local screening co...
Article
No guidance is available on the best approach to disclosing to parents newborn carrier status inadvertently identified by routine newborn blood spot screening. Newborn screening programs may inadvertently identify infants who are unaffected by serious in-born errors such as sickle cell disorders or cystic fibrosis, but who are genetic carriers. Thi...