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Future Research Needs for Noncyclic Chronic Pelvic Pain Therapies for Women: Identification of Future Research Needs From Comparative Effectiveness Review No. 41 [Internet].


Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US); 2012 Sep. Report No.: 12-EHC126-EF.
AHRQ Future Research Needs Papers.

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Vanderbilt Evidence-based Practice Center



The objective of this future research needs project is to identify high-priority research needs for noncyclic chronic pelvic pain in women. This report builds on the research needs and methodologic issues identified in the comparative evidence review published in January 2012.


We recruited stakeholders to participate in a teleconference to identify a comprehensive list of research questions and methodologic recommendations for future research on noncyclic chronic pelvic pain. Stakeholders completed two Web-based surveys to prioritize research questions and recommendations. The first survey used a 5-point Likert scale to rate the overall importance of the research needs identified from the comparative effectiveness review and the stakeholder conference call. Stakeholders were then asked to rank the highest-rated research using a 5-point scale across six prespecified criteria modified from the Effective Healthcare Program criteria. We also searched U.S. and international trial registries to identify currently funded and recently completed research on therapies to treat noncyclic chronic pelvic pain.


Twelve stakeholders representing patient advocacy groups, academic research, obstetricians and gynecologists, the payor perspective, and national foundations agreed to participate. Stakeholder participation exceeded 50 percent throughout the project. In the first Web-based survey, stakeholders rated 63 research needs related to etiology, diagnosis, treatment and methodological issues. Using a cutoff of 4.3, survey results generated a listed 31 research questions to promote to the final prioritization survey. Seven stakeholders completed the prioritization survey to generate a list of high-priority research needs for noncyclic chronic pelvic pain. The top-tier research needs consisted of items with an overall score of at least 4.0 (n=6); the second-tier consisted of research needs with an overall score of 3.75–3.99 (n=9).


We used a multistep process to identify and prioritize research questions to address specific knowledge gaps related to therapies for noncyclic chronic pelvic pain. The highest priority research questions encompass numerous topics related to noncyclic chronic pelvic pain, reflecting the ubiquity of gaps in the relevant literature.

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