How to Use Evidence Gap Maps:
Here you will find USAID ECCN’s Evidence Gap Maps, an approach to our objective to build evidence and capacity to increase equitable access to education in crisis-and-conflict-affected environments. These two maps focus on Safer Learning Environments (SLE); specifically a) internal threats (focusing on school-related gender-based violence (SRGBV) as a distinct type of threat that exists only within a school and as a result of peer-to-peer and teacher-to-student dynamics, all of which are ultimately linked to gender); b) external threats (including gang violence and education under attack). A third map related to SLE and environmental threats is under development. Below you will find a brief description and, to the right, a supplementary video describing how these maps were developed and how to use these maps.
The maps explore relationships between interventions and outcomes, and do not suggest causality between them: These maps are intended to provide an alternative way of exploring evidence-based literature around a specific theme beyond typical internet or database searches. They are not intended to imply causality where evidence exists.
Rigor of Resources: Each resource has one, two, or three yellow dots. These correspond to the degree of rigor – three dots indicating high rigor; two indicating medium; one indicating low. It is important to note that at this point the rigor ranking is preliminary, and ECCN will continue to develop specific ranking criteria for evidence and then re-code all articles accordingly.
Criteria for Selection of Studies: Studies were selected by searching for primary research (or meta-evaluations of primary research) on overcoming threats to SLE from a variety of sources: academic journals, implementer/donor/research organization databases of evaluations and studies, Google scholar, outreach to the community of practice, and searching reference sections of existing studies. Studies that were not specific to developing contexts were excluded except in the case of external threats/gang violence, where many relevant studies took place in the US.
Audience for Maps: The maps are intended to provide evidence-based resources to practitioners that can be helpful in planning and implementing programs around the particular theme of that map. In particular, the practitioner can use these resources for further contextual understanding when faced with a new threat that was not originally anticipated or researched. The maps are also intended to be helpful for researchers in identifying evidence gaps to better see where new research is needed.
Improving the Maps with the Community of Practice: It is important to note that the maps are in a preliminary phase – a gap does not indicate that there is no evidence (and thus requires more research to fill it), but rather it represents the evidence that we know about. As such, these two gap maps are a first step to build momentum around collecting, sharing, and using evidence related to safer learning environments. USAID ECCN will continue to collect additional evidence that exists in order to populate this map more completely. Only then can actual gaps in evidence be seen, which will then show us where additional research is needed to fill those gaps.
 Includes physical, sexual, or psychological violence or abuse that is based on gendered stereotypes or that targets students on the basis of their sex, sexuality, or gender identities. The underlying intent of this violence is to reinforce gender roles and perpetuate gender inequalities. It includes rape, unwanted sexual touching, unwanted sexual comments, corporal punishment, bullying, and verbal harassment. Unequal power relations between adults and children and males and females contribute to this violence, which can take place in the school, on school grounds, going to and from school, or in school dormitories and may be perpetrated by teachers, students, school personnel, or community members. Both girls and boys can be victims, as well as perpetrators. SRGBV results in sexual, physical, or psychological harm to girls and boys. (USAID 2014)