Scope of our work

The scope of the Methods group will encompass agenda and priority setting for research in general, including (but not limited to) Cochrane and other systematic reviews. The Cochrane Agenda and Priority Setting Methods Group will work with several organisations especially those focusing on prioritising evidence or identifying uncertainties to identify relevant methodology studies and important methods questions that the Methods group should address. It will be involved in conducting Cochrane methodological reviews and methods studies on these topics, along with preparing documents to guide the development of priority setting processes for Cochrane review groups and external organisations like funding organisations and HTA agencies.

It will seek to identify ways to evaluate the impact of the topic selection process for new and updated Cochrane reviews across the Cochrane collaboration and suggest methods and process on how systematic reviews can inform topic selection for future clinical research. 

The methodology to define a research agenda and prioritise topics for Cochrane reviews might also include methods of question formulation. However, the methodology of question formulation also necessitates expertise that other methods group currently reflect for example the Applicability and Recommendation Methods Group or the Cochrane Adverse effects methods group. The methods group will establish links with other methods group to ensure that these aspects are considered.


Primary Objective

The Cochrane Agenda and Priority Setting Methods Group aims to inform Cochrane entities on the empirical evidence available for methods to set research agendas or priorities, in particular (but not limited to) methods to set a research agenda for systematic reviews.

Secondary Objectives

In addition, the group:

  • will endeavour to serve as a forum for discussion, connecting people interested in agenda and priority setting methods and who are willing to share their experiences.
  • will seek funding to conduct empirical research and build an evidence base for the methodology of research agenda and prioritisation setting. We will be looking for collaborators to work with us in 2012.


Core Functions

  1. Providing policy advice 
  2. Serving as a forum for discussion
  3. Ensuring that the Group functions as part of the Cochrane Collaboration

Elective Functions

  1. Conducting Cochrane Methodology Reviews
  2. Conducting methodological research on methods and process of prioritisation
  3. Providing training and support
  4. Providing specialist advice

Working Plan for the next 3 years

  1. Develop policy guidance drafts for the Cochrane Review Groups.
  2. Promote a wider discussion across the Cochrane collaboration on priority setting.
  3. Work with the Cochrane Editorial Unit and interested CRGs to develop priority setting and agenda setting strategies.
  4. Finish the Cochrane Methodology review on priority setting for Comparative Effectiveness Research.
  5. Work with the Economic Methods Group to ensure that the economical approaches of priority setting are adequately considered in the scope of the methods group.
  6. Seek funding for conducting methodological projects for further methods development.