Background: Evidence-based research intends to produce relevant and top-priority evidence that responds to existing evidence gaps. Research priority setting is important to investigate which evidence gaps are deemed most important and it supports future health research to conform both health and health evidence needs. However, studies that are prioritising systematic review topics in public health are rare.
Objectives: To inform the research agenda and dissemination strategy of Cochrane Public Health Europe, we conduct priority setting studies on systematic review topics in Switzerland, Austria and Germany. This pilot study is the first one and is conducted in Switzerland. We aim to investigate which systematic review topics in public health have to be prioritised according to a wide variety of stakeholders. Furthermore, we analyse why the stakeholders prioritise specific topics by using assessment criteria in the priority setting exercise.
Methods: We will conduct a two-round modified Delphi study, incorporating anonymous web-based questionnaires. In the first round public health stakeholders suggest relevant assessment criteria and potential priority topics. In the second round the participants indicate their (dis)agreement with the results of the first round and rate the review topics with the criteria. Finally, we compare the results between different stakeholder groups.
Results: The targeted public health domains included are prevention, health promotion, and health services. 175 organisations - including policy-makers, academia, NGOs, health insurers and representatives of health professionals - are invited to participate in the pilot study. The Delphi rounds will be conducted in spring 2017. Hence, results will be available at the time of the Summit.
Conclusions: The results of this study will support Cochrane Public Health (CPH) author groups in improving the relevance of the groups´ future review work. Furthermore it increases the opportunity to intensively interact with relevant stakeholders in the ongoing work of CPH. The same study will be conducted in Austria and Germany and will have the potential to be replicated in other European countries.