Peer review of PCORI-funded research helps make sure the report presents complete, balanced, and useful information about the research. It also assesses how the project addressed PCORI’s Methodology Standards. During peer review, experts read a draft report of the research and provide comments about the report. These experts may include a scientist focused on the research topic, a specialist in research methods, a patient or caregiver, and a healthcare professional. These reviewers cannot have conflicts of interest with the study.
The peer reviewers point out where the draft report may need revision. For example, they may suggest ways to improve descriptions of the conduct of the study or to clarify the connection between results and conclusions. Sometimes, awardees revise their draft reports twice or more to address all of the reviewers’ comments.
Reviewers’ comments and the investigator’s change in response included the following:
- The awardee revised the abstract and conclusion to state prominently that patient outcomes were the same in the two treatment conditions.
- The investigator expanded its introduction by presenting background literature on the development and testing of patient decision aids to help put the study into context.
- Reviewers asked why the investigator did not record the decision choices of study participants. The awardee explained that it captured this information, but reporting this information was not part of the original study aims. Therefore, any analyses based on patient choices would have added complexity to the project. The investigator stated that this would, however, be a potential area for future research.
- The awardee added to its list of limitations that the study had difficulty recruiting patients from all relevant racial and ethnic groups and then experienced high attrition. These factors limited the validity and generalizability of study results.
- The awardee commented in its limitations section that the study coordinators and community navigators recruited patients and conducted the follow-up surveys. These dual roles may have introduced bias in patients’ and caregivers’ responses on the surveys. In future research, the awardee suggested that the study personnel responsible for recruitment should not also be responsible for data collection to reduce this risk of bias.
- The awardee stated that it had difficulty engaging patients and caregivers to participate in the advisory panel, leading to limited feedback from advisors.
Final Research Report
View this project's final research report.
Conflict of Interest Disclosures
View the COI disclosure form.
Guiding Men through Prostate Cancer Treatment Options
A narrative about a local barbershop owner and community health advocate who is helping a Florida researcher test an app designed to aid prostate cancer patients in weighing their choices.
^Brian Rivers, BS, MPH, PhD, was the original principal investigator on this project.