What is a priority setting partnership?
The RCSLT has embarked on a project to develop the top priorities for new research in speech and language therapy, using a priority setting partnership (PSP). PSPs enable clinicians, patients and carers to work together to identify and prioritise evidence uncertainties, in particular areas of health and care, that could be answered by research.
It is anticipated that the research priorities identified will be used by researchers, higher education institutes and research funders, to guide future research.
How has the RCSLT addressed setting research priorities?
The RCSLT has used a Research Priorities Working Group to agree the scope and approach to the projects and to oversee the delivery.
In 2015, RCSLT members completed a questionnaire that asked for SLTs’ thoughts on gaps in the evidence base that impact on their delivery of quality care.
Five key clinical areas were identified as those that required a PSP first:
- Learning disabilities
- Developmental language disorders (DLD)
For the first three of these areas, SLTs, patients/service users and other professionals, worked together to use the evidence gaps to develop a list of research questions.
The long list was then prioritised to develop a ‘top 10’ list of questions for each area. This was done via a second online questionnaire involving SLTs, service users and other professionals.
The RCSLT has developed top 10 priorities for research in dysphagia, learning disabilities and developmental language disorders (DLD).
Research priorities for dysphagia
Download resources to learn about the research priorities in dysphagia for the speech and language therapy profession:
- Setting collaborative research priorities in dysphagia poster (PDF)
- Dysphagia: Top 10 adult research priorities (PDF)
- Dysphagia: Top 10 paediatric research priorities (PDF)
- Dysphagia: Top 10 general/non age group specific priorities (PDF)
- Long list of dysphagia research priorities (PDF)
- The methods used in the dysphagia research priorities project have been published in BMJ Open 2022
Since the priorities were published, there have been annual campaigns to document what research has been conducted in relation to them.
- See projects carried out in the first 12 months related to the dysphagia research priorities (PDF) and download infographics of the project profiles (PDF)
- See projects carried out (PDF) in the second year since publication, related to the dysphagia research priorities and download infographics of the project profiles (PDF)
Research priorities for developmental language disorder
RCSLT is revisiting and extending the original developmental language disorder (DLD) project, to translate the research priority areas into fundable research questions that we can submit to funding bodies. This will complete in early 2025.
We have appointed a researcher to lead this project, but if you are interested in contributing to this second phase of the project, either as a clinician or as a researcher, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
DLD priorities resources
Download resources to learn about the research priorities in DLD for the speech and language therapy profession:
- Top 10 list of DLD research priorities (PDF)
- Full information about the DLD research priority setting partnership project (PDF) is detailed in a report, featuring a foreword from Dorothy Bishop and Courtenay Norbury
- The Top 10 have been presented as an editorial perspective piece in The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry (2022)
- Methods for setting collaborative research priorities in DLD (PDF)
- The methods used in this project have been published in the JoVE journal as a paper (2020) and as a video (2023)
- Long list of developmental language disorder research priorities (PDF)
Since these priorities were published, there has been a campaign to document what research has been conducted in relation to the top 10 priorities.
- See RCSLT members’ current projects relating to the DLD research priorities (PDF).
Research priorities for learning disabilities
Download resources to learn about the learning disabilities (LD) research priorities for the speech and language therapy profession:
- We revisited and extended the LD PSP project to translate the research priorities into fundable research questions. Information about phase one and two of the project can be found in our updated learning disabilities PSP report (PDF). An easy read document (PDF) and video version of the report are also available.
- Top 10 list of learning disabilities research priorities (PDF)
- Long list of learning disabilities research priorities (PDF)
- The methods and results of this project have been published in Tizard learning disability review (2022).
- A commentary paper which presents reflections from a team of speech and language therapists and the impact that the LD research priorities have had on their work.
Since these priorities were published, there have been two annual campaigns to document what research has been conducted in relation to the top 10 priorities.
View the supplementary material to our article published in Tizard Learning Disability Review ‘Learning disabilities: PSP process, data and documentation’ (PDF).
What do the research priorities mean for me?
There are lots of ways you can use the priorities to support your work.
If you’re a speech and language therapist:
- Share the priorities with your networks, including service users and families.
- Ask service users and families what they think about the priorities.
- Use the priorities to inform a journal club meeting.
- Discuss the priorities at a team meeting, clinical excellence network (CEN) event.
- Review an article in relation to a priority area for the ‘in the journals’ column in Bulletin (Email Bulletin for details).
- Carry out a clinical audit or quality improvement project related to a priority area.
If you’re a researcher conducting research in the field of speech and language therapy:
- Let us know about any existing/potential work you know is happening in relation to a priority area.
- Tell us about relevant funding bodies, stakeholders and funding opportunities, particularly local ones.
- Use a priority area to inform your student dissertation project or to develop your research proposal/National Institute for Health Research fellowship application.
Next steps and support from the RCSLT research team
- The working group met in 2020 to discuss next steps for the RCSLT priority setting partnership (PSP) project and decided that autism and aphasia clinical areas were no longer priority areas, as Autistica and the Stroke Association have already begun their own PSPs in this area.
- Further work is required to ensure full impact of the current top 10 priorities for research, before addressing further clinical areas.
- The methods and findings for translating research priorities to fundable research questions for learning disabilities has been published. Work will begin on developing a translation phase for research priorities relating to DLD in 2024.
- There will be ongoing activities promoting the RCSLT research priorities and translated questions and collating emerging research relating to the priorities.
How can the RCSLT research team support me?
The research team are happy to support your activities in relation to any of the research priorities. We can provide advice about your project, a letter of support and relevant resources to support your activity. We can also help you to share information on the research/activities that you are carrying out.
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