After reviewing reports and recommendations from a range of previous priority-setting exercises, the project team adopted a modified list of priority-setting criteria developed by the Council on Health Research for Development.*
The project team agreed on eight priority-setting criteria grouped under four categories:
Appropriateness: Should we do it?
1) Is the research ethically, morally and culturally appropriate?
2) Do we need more research on this topic? (Does adequate evidence already exist? Can we avoid duplicating existing research?)
Relevancy: Why should we do it?
3) Will the research contribute to better equity in health? (Will it serve community concern/demand? Will it be broad in scope?)
4) Will the research reduce the burden of illness? (What is the magnitude of the issue? Will the research address the social determinants of health?)
Chance of Success: Can we do it?
5) Does our system have the capacity to undertake the research? (Do we have the competency, infrastructure, mechanisms, support system, and resources?)
6) Can we justify the cost of the research? (Is there a strong likelihood of partnership building? What is the funding potential? Is the research pragmatic and politically acceptable?)
Impact of the Research Outcome: What do the stakeholders get out of it?
7) What are the chances that recommendations emerging from the research will be implemented? (Is the research applicable to current practice? Does it represent forward/upstream thinking?
8) Will the research have a significant impact on mental health and quality of life within the population? (Will it have an economic impact?)
* Okello, D., and Chongtrakul, P. A Manual for Research Priority Setting using the ENHR Strategy. Geneva: The Council on Health Research for Development. March 2000.