Table 1

Example format for research recommendation rationale to support prioritisation

Potential criterionExplanation
Importance to patients, service users or the populationWhat would be the impact of any new or altered guidance on the population (eg, acceptability to patients or service users, quality of life, morbidity or disease prevalence, severity of disease or mortality)?
Relevance to NICE guidanceHow would the answer to this question change future NICE guidance (ie, generate new knowledge or evidence)? How important is the question to the overall guidance?
  • High: the research is essential to inform future updates of key recommendations in the guidance.

  • Medium: the research is relevant to the recommendations in the guidance, but the research recommendations are not essential to future updates.

  • Low: the research is of interest and will fill existing evidence gaps.

Relevance to the NHS, public health, social care and voluntary sectorsWhat would be the impact on the NHS, public health, social care and voluntary sector and (if relevant) the public sector of any new or altered guidance (eg, financial advantage, or effect on staff, strategic planning or service delivery)?
National prioritiesIs the question relevant to a national priority area (such as a national policy or parliamentary paper)?
If so, specify the document.
Current evidence baseWhat are the problems with the current evidence base? (That is, why is further research needed?)
Is there any relevant ongoing research that may resolve the uncertainty?
EqualityDoes the research recommendation have any relevance to equality? For example, does it focus on groups needing special consideration, or on a technology, intervention or service that is not available for use by people with certain disabilities?
What is known about the impact of the intervention on the health gradient?
FeasibilityCan the proposed research be carried out within a realistic timescale?
Would the sample size needed to resolve the question be feasible?
Would the expense needed to resolve the question be warranted?
Are there any ethical or technical issues?
Other commentsAny other important issues that should be mentioned, such as potential funders, outcomes of previous attempts to address this issue or methodological problems.
  • NHS, National Health Service; NICE, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.