Research priorities at the RCSLT

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The RCSLT, in collaboration with the National Institute of Health Research, has embarked on an exciting project to determine the top priorities for new research in speech and language therapy.

Our approach

First, we identified which research priorities relevant to speech and language therapy already exist. Gaps in the evidence base that impact on care that SLTs are currently providing were identified by questionnaire in 2015.

Next, we are planning face-to-face workshops for different clinical areas. Speech and language therapists, patients/service users and other professionals will work together to use the evidence gaps to develop a list of research questions.

The final phase will be to prioritise the long list of research questions into a ‘top 10’ for each area. This will be done via a second online questionnaire involving SLTs, patients/service users and other professionals.

It is anticipated that the research priorities identified will be used by researchers, higher education institutes and research funders to guide future research. 

What is happening in 2017?

Priority setting will be carried out for dysphagia, learning disabilities, language disorder and aphasia.

  • Our first workshop on dysphagia took place on 25 January 2017 and generated 77 research questions. A final prioritisation questionnaire was distributed and a top 10 list will be devised  
  • Our second workshop on learning disabilities (children and adults) took place on 27 March 2017 and generated 76 research questions. A final prioritisation questionnaire will be available soon.
  • Work on language disorders will begin in Autumn 2017


Contact Lauren Longhurst for more information. 

How are members involved?

Our Research Priorities Working Group agrees the scope and approach and oversees the delivery.

We have workstream groups for dysphagia, learning disabilities, developmental language disorders and aphasia to provide advice on clinical content and stakeholders, act as a sounding board to the working group and help promote the project.

How can you be involved?

  • Spread the word about the project to colleagues, stakeholders and patients/service users and carers
  • Join the mailing list for updates on the project
  • Express an interest in collecting service user stories by contacting Lauren Longhurst
  • Help NIHR identify important research questions by submitting a question online

Any questions?

If you have any questions about the project, please email Lauren Longhurst, Research and Development Officer. 

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