Skills for Setting Research Priorities
The JLA facilitates the final priority setting process to ensure transparency, accountability and fairness. It is important that patients, carers and clinicians can contribute equally. As such, membership of the small discussion groups should be determined in advance, to ensure an even mix of both groups.
Facilitators need to be aware that some patient and carer representatives may be less experienced than professional clinicians at contributing to open debate, and should therefore be careful to actively include patients and carers and ensure they have opportunities to share their views and experiences.
Information such as participant biographies, glossary of research terms and a clear structure for discussion and decision making must be sent to participants ahead of the workshop to help with this process. There is no hierarchy between the different participants; no one group's views or experiences are more valid than another's.
Overall, the JLA has developed a neutral style of facilitation, adopting a non-prescriptive approach to small group discussion about prioritisation, but maintains the ranking approach across all small groups. This helps to ensure that groups develop their own ways of working and make their decisions without being influenced by the JLA.