National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)

NIH…Turning Discovery Into Health®

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The Four Factors for Priority Setting

NCCAM uses four factors to help:

  • Identify and plan targeted research initiatives
  • Locate gaps in knowledge to help shape future research
  • Balance the funding of specific initiatives with the funding of projects based on researchers’ creative ideas.

These factors, and some examples of questions NCCAM might ask related to each factor, are as follows:

1. Scientific Promise

How strong is the body of evidence supporting the concept? 

2. Amenability to Rigorous Scientific Inquiry

Are there reliable and reproducible methods—e.g., diagnostics, outcome measures, biological effects, quality control, etc.?

3. Potential To Change Health Practices

Is it reasonably likely that the results will make a difference to consumers, providers, or policymakers? 

4. Relationship to Use and Practice

Do the methods and approaches actually address the most important questions about use or practice in the real world?