Preparing uncertainties for prioritisation and publication on the JLA website

To manage the data throughout the PSP process, it is recommended that the PSP uses the data management template supplied by the JLA that includes the minimum data fields to be collected.  PSPs may choose to adapt the spreadsheet and add more fields, depending on how they wish to manage their data.  For example, if a PSP has identified uncertainties from published research recommendations, then it may be helpful to list them and link to the research recommendation in an extra field.

A requirement of the JLA PSP process is that the completed data template is published on the JLA website.  This should be sent to the JLA as soon as the PSP is ready to announce its results.  It forms a transparent, public record of the work of the PSP and allows researchers and funders to see the original data to help them understand what informed the indicative questions.  It is an important part of the dissemination work of the PSP.

The following fields will need to be completed for every uncertainty:

  • Uncertainty

This is the indicative uncertainty, formatted using the PICO question structure where possible.  The advised minimum requirements are 'population' and 'intervention'

  • Original uncertainty

This column will contain the original survey submission(s) that informed the indicative uncertainty. If a number of survey submissions have been combined to form the indicative uncertainty, they can all be listed here, separated by ~. This allows for transparency of interpretation, so the reader can see both what was originally submitted and the indicative uncertainty that was formed as a result

  • Evidence 

This column will contain the evidence checked to ensure that the uncertainty is unanswered. It should include reference (and a link where possible) to the most recent relevant systematic review identified by the PSP, plus a maximum of 2 other systematic reviews, including protocols for future systematic reviews, that the PSP considers relevant

  • Source of uncertainty  

This column will show what type of people submitted the question. If there are multiple sources, a PSP may wish to show them, e.g. ‘1 x patient, 19 x clinician, 4 x research recommendations’.


For the uncertainties discussed at the workshop (this is usually a maximum of 30), PSPs should show the following in addition to the above:

  • Final ranking decided on at the workshop for each question
  • An explanatory note for each uncertainty. This should be a plain language summary of up to 150 words, explaining the key points about what the uncertainty is and why it is a priority to research.  This is an essential step in supporting researchers and funders to understand why the uncertainty is a priority and what impact any research could have on patients, carers and health and social care professionals.  PSPs may wish to include examples of the original survey submissions within the note. 

Following the priority setting workshop the PSP should: 

  • Update the data sheet to include any agreed changes made to the uncertainties during the priority setting workshop, e.g. merging or rewording submissions
  • Ensure that the final ranking and explanatory note is included against all of the uncertainties discussed at the workshop
  • Send the completed data file to the JLA for publication on the JLA website as soon as possible, so that researchers and funders can benefit from the additional information about the priorities.

The Excel spreadsheet supplied to the JLA will enable the JLA to create individual pages for each of the questions that were discussed and prioritised at the workshop. These individual pages feed into the NICE Evidence Search website, making the PSP questions publicly available on an additional website. For an example of these individual pages, please see the Foot Health PSP Top 10 on the JLA website.

The data management steps involved in a PSP are summarised in the next section.