Earlier today, I made a presentation at a well-attended lunch-time seminar at the LKY School at the National University of Singapore on the work done by LIRNEasia’s systematic review teams on mobile phone impacts in rural areas, mobile financial services and ICTs in the classroom. Sujata Gamage, the leader of the education SR team, presented the education section.
The slides are here.
Perhaps the most interesting thing I took away from the discussion was that generally SRs tend to systematically confirm what we already know. At most, like with our SR which showed that the evidence of impacts from mobile-based information services was not solid, it questions established knowledge. Even here, it does not say there are no impacts, just that these studies fail to establish impact. So it is no wonder that there is little take up among policy makers and journalists. They are used to getting by with less than perfect knowledge combined with value judgments.
We’ll think about this more. We know there is a lot of rethinking going on among those who promote and fund SRs.