Interview by Tanya Kristiansen, Web editor, Campbell Collaboration
Dr Trine Filges has authored and coauthored 13 Campbell systematic reviews published since 2012, with three of these published this year. A Dane, Trine has a PhD in economics from the University of Copenhagen, and works in the city as senior researcher and statistician at VIVE, The Danish Center for Social Science Research. At VIVE she specializes in methods, theory, and the labor market, and evalutes the efficacy of unemployment interventions.
What made you interested in this kind of research?
In 2009 I was talked into doing Campbell reviews by Mette Deding, the head of SFI Campbell at that time. Soon I realized it was useful, challenging and fun.
Who can benefit from the use of the evidence from your ‘Reducing unemployment benefit duration to increase job-finding rates review’, and how?
This review may inform policymakers when considering reducing the generosity of unemployment systems in order to reduce high unemployment levels.
What would you say is one of the biggest misconceptions about employment interventions?
In general (not in particular employment interventions) it seems to be neglected that even if something ‘works’ in the sense that a statistically significant effect size is found, the magnitude of the effect may be quite small and ‘not worth it’, of course, depending on the cost of the intervention.
In retrospect, would you have done anything differently? Do you have any lessons learned from the process you can share with researchers?
Be more careful when choosing the study designs eligible for inclusion, not all are suited for the purpose of a Campbell review, or at least not for my reviews. Is there are a small, medium, large or no effect of the intervention? And how the effect may depend on different settings or participant characteristics.
Last month we published your review Small class sizes for improving student achievement in primary and secondary schools, which is getting some attention. Are you working on other systematic reviews right now?
Yes: the effect of voluntary work on the health of the volunteers, the effect of school-based targeted interventions on student achievement, and the effect of professional development on students and professionals.
If you could choose to work on any systematic reviews you wished, which questions would you like to study?
The effect of having a job on health. This is not the same as the effect of unemployment on health. I haven’t found any suitable primary studies on this (yet).
What is the best thing about Campbell?
The high quality standards. But it takes way too long to receive feedback.