Welcome to HDFSS: Social Science Fire Managers Can Use


    Teams of scientists and fire managers find and synthesize the best available social science and apply it to fire management. We deliver the results in applications and tools designed by fire science users and researchers working together to create useful knowledge in forms that make sense to fire managers. For descriptions of our offerings see What You Will Find Here.


    What's New? Get a pdf of our latest brochure and bookmark.

    Featured Application: Relational leadership styles superior to task oriented leadership styles (pdf) by Wong & Cummings

    Evidence-Based Fire Management: Systematic Research Reviews

    Systematic Research Reviews are a special kind of research review developed to synthesize all available research knowledge and apply it to specific problems. Systematic reviews have been best developed and used in medicine, applied health fields, and are increasingly available in fire management.

    Two examples are:

    1. Do thinning and/or burning treatments on ponderosa pine and related forests in western USA produce restoration of natural fire behavior? (PDF)
    2. Fire and restoration of pinon-juniper woodlands in the western United States: a review (PDF)

    Systematic Research Reviews are necessary because:

    • Rarely does a single study provide conclusive results that can be applied to a management problem.
    • Confidence in conclusions is greater where many high quality studies have produced similar findings.
    • Managers cannot easily judge whether the results of a study done in another setting can be applied to their own situations.
    • Not all managers have the training to be able to evaluate the quality of research methods and analysis.
    • It is difficult for most science users to find and acquire research reports that are applicable to their situation or to synthesize findings across many studies.

    Systematic Research Reviews differ from traditional narrative literature reviews and syntheses in these ways:

    • They seek to identify what works or does not work.
    • They typically target a single specific question or hypothesis.
    • The questions typically arise from the experience and information needs of practitioners. Science users and researchers jointly establish the questions to address.
    • The reviews focus on practical problem solving.
    • They attempt to include all studies relevant to the topic rather than selected studies.
    • Each study is assessed for the quality of research design and analysis. Threats to reliability and validity are identified and evaluated.
    • The results of many studies are synthesized into statements of fact and relationships among variables.
    • Each statement is accompanied by an estimation of the degree of confidence that science users can place in them based on the quality and quantity of supporting research.
    • Where appropriate, statistical procedures such as Meta Analysis are used to combine the findings of the different studies and evaluate the strength of observed relationships among variables.
    • Reports of systematic reviews carefully describe precisely the methods used to find, include, or exclude reports; assess quality of reports; and synthesize results across studies. Enough detail is provided to allow an independent reviewer to replicate the project and verify the conclusions.
    • While systematic research reviews can be used directly by science users, typically a variety of applications and tools are generated from the findings that can be more easily and immediately applied. Science users and researchers collaborate in the development of applications and tools to ensure that they can be used in the practitioner's real-life working environment.
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