Identifying research priorities in eating disorders: A Delphi study building consensus across clinicians, researchers, consumers, and carers in Australia Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE:Eating disorders are underrepresented among successful applications for medical research funding. Developing agreement on the top research priorities may assist in fostering collaborations, innovation, and meaningful consumer and carer involvement. This study aimed to develop consensus among Australian clinicians, researchers, consumers, carers, and interested members of affiliated industries, on the priorities for eating disorders research. METHOD:The Delphi expert consensus method was used. Participants were 291 members of the Australia New Zealand Academy for Eating Disorders (ANZAED) or the National Eating Disorders Collaboration (NEDC). Three panels were formed based on participant expertise: "ED Specialists," Consumers/Carers, and Affiliates. A total of 32 potential research areas (29 in Survey 1, 3 in Survey 2) were rated on a 5-point scale of importance, with 80% agreement across all three panels required for endorsement as a priority. Participants also ranked 7 broad research domains in order of priority. RESULTS:Research areas describing early intervention and evidence-based treatments were the most highly rated, with more than 90% endorsement from each of the three panels. The research domains of accessible evidence-based treatments, early intervention and detection, and origins of eating disorders, were the most highly ranked. The ED specialists and Consumers/Carers panels had very similar patterns of responding, while the Affiliates panel showed small differences. DISCUSSION:Using the Delphi expert consensus method resulted in a collaborative consensus driven eating disorders research agenda for the Australian context and forms a model upon which other countries may also develop their funding priorities.

publication date

  • 2019