Using the consensus development conference method in healthcare research
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Using the consensus development conference method in healthcare research

Elizabeth Halcomb Senior Lecturer, School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Western Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Patricia Davidson Professor, Centre for Cardiovascular and Chronic Care, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Curtin University of Technology, Sydney Campus, Australia
Laura Hardaker Doctoral candidate, School of Nursing & Midwifery, University of Western Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Consensus methods are increasingly being used in healthcare research, particularly for formulating policy and strategic directions. This paper by Elizabeth Halcomb, Patricia Davidson and Laura Hardaker discusses the issues central to the planning and conduct of the consensus development conference, and offers practical recommendations to researchers intending to use this approach

Consensus methods have been used in health research for many years, although it has only been since the 1950s that formal consensus methods have been adopted in research and policy decisions (Fink et al 1984, Black et al 1999). As health professionals strive to formulate a range of evidence-based guidelines, there is an increasing trend to use this method. The consensus conference method has two advantages; first, it allows synthesis of the best available information; and second, it allows a process of consensus and validation between key stakeholders, who will often be end-users of the document, thereby increasing their ownership and engagement. Particularly in nursing, discipline-based groups are using this method to integrate evidence in pragmatic considerations of systems issues, professional values and consumer needs.

Nurse Researcher. 16, 1, 56-71. doi: 10.7748/nr2008.10.16.1.56.c6753

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