A practice-based tool for engaging stakeholders in future research: a synthesis of current practices

J Clin Epidemiol. 2013 Jun;66(6):666-74. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2012.12.010. Epub 2013 Mar 13.


Objective: A major goal of patient-centered outcomes and comparative effectiveness research is to increase the involvement of stakeholders throughout the research process to provide relevant and immediately actionable information. In this report, we review the current practices for engaging stakeholders in prioritizing research.

Study design and setting: To evaluate the range of approaches to stakeholder engagement, we reviewed the relevant literature and conducted semistructured interviews with (1) leading research organizations in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom; and (2) eight Evidence-based Practice Centers that engage stakeholders in comparative effectiveness research.

Results: We identified 56 articles related to stakeholder engagement in research prioritization. Studies and research organizations interviewed frequently used mixed methods approaches combining in-person venues with structured ranking or voting processes such as Delphi. EPCs similarly used group web/conference calls combined with Delphi ranking or voting. Research organizations reported difficulties engaging the public and policy makers, and EPCs reported challenges engaging federal stakeholders.

Conclusion: Explicit and consistent use of terminology about stakeholders was absent. In-person techniques were useful to generate ideas and clarify issues, and quantitative methods were important in the prioritization of research. Recommendations for effective stakeholder engagement and a reporting checklist were developed from the accumulation of findings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Community Participation / methods*
  • Comparative Effectiveness Research / methods*
  • Delphi Technique
  • Evidence-Based Practice*
  • Humans
  • Qualitative Research
  • Research Design*
  • United Kingdom
  • United States