Research priorities

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 and mapped to existing research. Speech and language therapists, patients/ service users and other professionals have been working together to use the evidence gaps to develop a list of research questions, prioritising these into a ‘top 10’ for a range of clinical areas 

  • Dysphagia
  • Learning Disability
  • Developmental Language Disorders
  • Autism
  • Aphasia

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 2018?  

  • Top 10 lists for dysphagia research priorities have been developed

PosterSetting collaborative research priorities in dysphagia for the speech and language therapy profession

  • A final prioritisation questionnaire for learning disabilities is available to complete here until 20th November
  • information gathering for developmental language disorder has begun and a workshop will be held in January 2019- register your interest here

The RCSLT research priority project was awarded ‘testbed’ status for the new National Public Involvement in Research Standards by the National Institute for Health Research partnership.

We will be trying to ensure people with communication difficulties are able to access opportunities to get involved with research by collaborating with service users throughout the research priorities project and sharing our learning. Find out more information here

Contact Lauren Longhurst for more information.

What happened in 2017?

Face to face workshops were held for dysphagia and learning disabilities. These included service users, carers and families, speech and lnaugage therapists, other professionals and service user groups/charities. 

  • 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 has now been devised  
  • Our second workshop on learning disabilities (children and adults) took place on 27 March 2017 and generated 76 research questions. Service user workshops are taking place across 2017/ early 2018. A final prioritisation questionnaire will be available soon. 

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 attending a workshop and/or collecting service user stories by contacting Lauren Longhurst
  • Help NIHR identify important research questions in all clinical areas by submitting a question online
  • Let us know if you are planning on carrying out research projects in these areas 

Any questions?

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


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