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Participating in core outcome set development via Delphi surveys: qualitative interviews provide pointers to inform guidance

Abstract : Objectives To explore participants' views of Delphi surveys in core outcome set (COS) development. Study design and setting Patients and health professionals (n=24) from seven recently concluded COS studies that had involved a Delphi survey took part in semistructured qualitative interviews (telephone and email exchange). Interviews explored participants' understanding of COS and their experiences of the Delphi survey. Analysis was thematic. Results Several interviewees had previously participated in two or more COS or Delphi surveys. Those with multiple experiences of participation generally understood the purpose of COS and were satisfied with the Delphi survey. However, some interviewees who were first-time participants struggled to understand the purpose of COS and aspects of the Delphi survey, which limited their contribution and satisfaction with the study. Interviewees also differed in how they interpreted and subsequently used the written documentation provided to COS participants. Some interviewees wanted guidance regarding whose perspective to take into account when scoring outcomes and on how to use the scoring system. Interviewees reported being motivated to take part by the international and expert consensus aspects of the Delphi survey. A few interviewees reported experiencing either positive or negative emotional impacts arising from when they reviewed outcomes and stakeholder feedback. Conclusion This study identifies important information that should be communicated to COS Delphi study participants. It also indicates the importance of communicating about COS Delphi studies in ways that are accessible and salient to participants, to enhance their experience of participation and make the process more meaningful for all.
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Alice Biggane, Paula Williamson, Philippe Ravaud, Bridget Young. Participating in core outcome set development via Delphi surveys: qualitative interviews provide pointers to inform guidance. BMJ Open, BMJ Publishing Group, 2019, 9 (11), pp.e032338. ⟨10.1136/bmjopen-2019-032338⟩. ⟨hal-02973327⟩

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