Top Tips for Research Priority Setting (from Cochrane Vienna 2015 Workshop)

1.       Before you start considering your approach and methods what do you want to achieve?

·         Are you looking for new review titles?

·         Are you reviewing your existing review portfolio?

·         Do you have limited resources and need to de prioritise review titles?

·         Do you want to reach out to your review users and stakeholders to find out what is important and/or useful review questions?

·         Are you anticipating key clinical guidance or policy activity in your topic area?

·         Do you need to know about broad topic areas or specific questions?


2.       Estimate your resources - money, skills, capacity and networks - this will also influence your chosen approach.  The advantage of working with partners for priority setting is that you can share the load and have access to potentially more skills and capacity


3.       Consider what information/data you may already have about your review portfolio - downloads, citation information, media coverage, inclusion in guidance and policies etc this can be combined with other methods to assess priorities


4.       Consider assembling a small group to help you think about and plan your priority setting activity - ideally not just Cochrane people - it is more transparent, you will get a better discussion about the options and develop partnerships


5.       Consider the context for our priority setting exercise - do you need to work with particular people or organisations?  What will you need to do to make the relationship work? 


6.       Finally you can think about your method!!


·         Online survey - either to gather ideas for reviews or for people to vote for priorities.  So many ways to do this - ranking, Lickert scales, voting, using an 'important, not important, not sure' process etc

·         Online consensus method - e.g. Delphi (rounds of voting, usually 3 times)

·         'Desk top' approach - literature searching & review to identify existing priorities, probably country specific, but often more examples that you think

·         Identify gaps - Gap Map 

·         Face to face approaches - meetings, workshops, panel, consensus conference (using standard Nominal Group Techniques or Dialogue Models).  Think about who will facilitate/chair, spread of perspectives present in the room and a transparent process for reaching consensus.

NB The Methods Group Website has short summaries of most of these methods available.....these methods are not mutually exclusive......


7.   Remember to feed back your results and choices - consider informal communication with your community of interest as well as publishing your process and results.  Tell the Methods Group as well please!