Defining the Medical Library Association Research Agenda: Methodology and Final Results from a Consensus Process

Eldredge et al. (2009) full text summary PDF

For which topic were research priorities identified?

health sciences librarianship

In which location was the research priority setting conducted?

North America - USA

Why was it conducted at all?

A research agenda assists a professional organization such as the Medical Library Association (MLA) in focusing its limited resources on investigating those research topics likely to be most valued by its members. For example, a research agenda might guide the organization's efforts to advocate for funding research on these topics by external agencies. Or the organization might secure the resources itself to fund research on these topics. On an individual member level, the research agenda can provide guidance to researchers who are trying to prioritize their own applied research projects.

What was the objective?

to generate a list of the twelve to fifteen most important and answerable research questions in health sciences librarianship as part of a broader effort to implement the new Medical Library Association research policy

What was the outcome?

a list of 12 research questions

How long did the research prioritization take?

June 2008 - July 2008

Which methods were used to identify research priorities?


How were the priorities for research identified exactly?

Step 1: Delphi round 1: participants were asked: What is the most important and answerable research question facing your profession?, 62 questions submitted. Step 2: Delphi round 2: participants were asked to vote via 10 votes, resulting in refined list of 22 questions. Step 3: Delphi round 3: participants again asked to vote

Which stakeholders took part?

MLA leaders and MLA Research Section members. 54 participants.

How were stakeholders recruited?

The chair was able to secure from MLA headquarters access to email distribution or discussion lists for most of these MLA leaders. In addition, MLA staff members forwarded the committee's invitation to participate in the survey via staff email address books to the remaining MLA leaders. The committee also distributed the survey to the 237 members belonging to the MLA Research Section email discussion list.

Were stakeholders actively involved or did they just participate?

Stakeholders were mere participants of the research prioritization process; they were not actively involved in the process.