A Growing Literature
There is a growing literature
about setting priorities for health research with patients and clinicians
Researchers often draw conclusions about research needs from studying patients’ and clinicians’ experiences of health problems or health services. To be sure that these research needs will serve patients and clinicians well, they need to be discussed and agreed with them.
At the turn of the century, only a handful of studies had been reported in which priority setting for research had involved patients or the wider public. By 2007, there were 27 such studies and nine of these also involved clinicians. These nine studies show that “methods have advanced over time, with all of them employing high quality participation methods: engaging participants directly and repeatedly in facilitated debate and most employing formal decision-making procedures.”
The JLA Priority Setting Partnerships also include these features.
A checklist for setting priorities for health research captures nine themes of good practice 
- Decide which contextual factors underpin the process: resources; focus; values; helath, research and political environment
- Use a comprehensive approach: structured, detailed, step-by-step guidance
- Inclusiveness towards participants
- Information gathering to inform the exercise
- Planning for information: translating priorities into research
- Select relevant criteria for deciding on priorities
- Plan evaluation: how and when
- Transparency: report clearly who set the priorities and how.
More about the methods used by the JLA and why they have been chosen can be found here
1. Oliver S, Gray J. A bibliography of research reports about patients', clinicians' and researchers' priorities for new research. London: James Lind Alliance, December 2006.
2. Stewart R, Oliver S (2008) A systematic map of studies of patients' and clinicians' research priorities. London: James Lind Alliance.
3. Viergever RF, Olifson S, Ghaffar A, Terry RF. A checklist for health research priority setting: nine common themes of good practice. Health Research Policy and Systems 2010, 8:36 http://www.health-policy-systems.com/content/8/1/36.