November 1, 2014

Stakeholder Engagement for Question Prioritization


SEED Method Toolkit:

The SEED Method is a multi-stakeholder approach to patient and stakeholder involvement in research question development and prioritization. The toolkit provides access to SEED Method materials, including instruction documents, templates, and examples that can be adapted and modified to fit the specifics of each project, as well as a set of evaluation tools.

Those interested in using the SEED Method can download individual files, a zip file containing all items, or an abbreviated PDF using the links below.



Under an award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), VCU’s Center on Society and Health conducted two demonstrations of a new methodology for engaging diverse stakeholders in the process of conceptualizing and prioritizing research questions on health related topics. The SEED Method engages stakeholders through collaborative, participatory, and consultative processes, and includes a range of stakeholders – such as patients, caregivers, and advocates and health professionals – who participate in the project in a variety of ways.

Project Goals: 

  • To actively engage community stakeholders in identifying and prioritizing research questions around a health topic
  • To generate a relevant research agenda that addresses the concerns, needs, and values of diverse stakeholder groups
  • To disseminate the research agenda to the community, researchers, policymakers, funding organizations, and those in power to affect change
  • To inform researchers, funders and other decision-makes about questions relevant to the needs of patients and other stakeholders


  • A community-based participatory Research Team that collaboratively leads the project from beginning to end
  • Participatory stakeholders familiar with the health topic who take part in a series of facilitated exercises to develop stakeholder-driven priorities (Topic group participants)
  • Consultative stakeholders who participate briefly through focus groups and interviews (SCAN participants)

The SEED Method was designed to take place in six steps, and is described in detail in the SEED Method Toolkit (see below).

SEED Method Demonstrations:

Two demonstrations of the SEED Method were conducted and focused on the following health topics:

  • Richmond, VA: Dietary compliance for diabetes/hypertension
  • Martinsville, VA: Lung cancer outcomes


Research agendas were developed at each of these sites and were disseminated to local stakeholders, academic researchers, funding organizations, and policymakers. Results from the Richmond demonstration, including the research agenda, appear in an article in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.  


To learn more, please contact:

Emily Zimmerman
SEED Principal Investigator
VCU Center on Society and Health

Sarah Cook
SEED Research Coordinator
VCU Center on Society and Health