The number of questions to include

From experience, a maximum of around 60-70 indicative questions is suggested, but depending on the nature of the stakeholder group being consulted, a Steering Group may decide that fewer, or even slightly more, will work.

If the long list of indicative questions is deemed too long, and there is no scope for reducing the list by merging questions, the JLA Adviser can help the Steering Group decide on how to reduce it in a fair and transparent way. It is still important that any questions removed in order for the list to be reduced are published and are not ‘lost’.

Some examples of criteria considered by Steering Groups to help reduce a list of indicative questions to a more manageable size for interim prioritisation include:

  • Whether the question has been suggested by both patients and clinicians
  • Whether the question has been suggested by a minimum of ‘x’ people
  • Whether the question has been suggested by different kinds of professionals
  • How many people overall have suggested the question
  • Whether the question has been commonly expressed in other fora, such as patient helpline services
  • Whether the question overlaps with one suggested by research recommendations.


  • The Stillbirth PSP used the following criteria to help reduce the large list of uncertainties received to a shorter more manageable list for interim prioritisation. It meant that questions proposed by one individual, or from only one group, would be prioritised lower than questions from several respondents from different disciplines.
    1. Questions suggested by more than one group, e.g. parents, midwives, obstetricians
    2. Questions suggested by more than one group (ranked by number of individuals)
    3. Question is within a topic area suggested by more than one individual, e.g. fetal movements
    4. Questions suggested in survey and as research recommendations in guidelines.

The Dementia PSP reduced its long list by removing questions that were based on submissions by just one or two survey respondents. The removed questions were checked by a team at the Alzheimer’s Society helpline with a view to retaining questions that were known to be of importance to marginalised groups and those less likely to have been able to complete the survey.