Surgical Endoscopy

, Volume 21, Issue 9, pp 1518–1525 | Cite as

A research agenda for gastrointestinal and endoscopic surgery

  • D. R. UrbachEmail author
  • K. D. Horvath
  • N. N. Baxter
  • B. A. Jobe
  • A. K. Madan
  • A. D. Pryor
  • L. Khaitan
  • A. Torquati
  • S. T. Brower
  • T. L. Trus
  • S. Schwaitzberg



Development of a research agenda may help to inform researchers and research-granting agencies about the key research gaps in an area of research and clinical care. The authors sought to develop a list of research questions for which further research was likely to have a major impact on clinical care in the area of gastrointestinal and endoscopic surgery.


A formal group process was used to conduct an iterative, anonymous Web-based survey of an expert panel including the general membership of the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES). In round 1, research questions were solicited, which were categorized, collapsed, and rewritten in a common format. In round 2, the expert panel rated all the questions using a priority scale ranging from 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest). In round 3, the panel re-rated the 40 questions with the highest mean priority score in round 2.


A total of 241 respondents to round 1 submitted 382 questions, which were reduced by a review panel to 106 unique questions encompassing 33 topics in gastrointestinal and endoscopic surgery. In the two successive rounds, respectively, 397 and 385 respondents ranked the questions by priority, then re-ranked the 40 questions with the highest mean priority score. High-priority questions related to antireflux surgery, the oncologic and immune effects of minimally invasive surgery, and morbid obesity. The question with the highest mean priority ranking was: “What is the best treatment (antireflux surgery, endoluminal therapy, or medication) for GERD?” The second highest-ranked question was: “Does minimally invasive surgery improve oncologic outcomes as compared with open surgery?” Other questions covered a broad range of research areas including clinical research, basic science research, education and evaluation, outcomes measurement, and health technology assessment.


An iterative, anonymous group survey process was used to develop a research agenda for gastrointestinal and endoscopic surgery consisting of the 40 most important research questions in the field. This research agenda can be used by researchers and research-granting agencies to focus research activity in the areas most likely to have an impact on clinical care, and to appraise the relevance of scientific contributions.


Delphi process Endoscopic surgery Gastrointestinal surgery Priority setting Research agenda Survey research 



We thank Jacqueline Narváez, Avery Nathens, Christina Blaney, and Jason Levine for their invaluable assistance with this project. This project was supported by the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. R. Urbach
    • 1
    Email author
  • K. D. Horvath
    • 2
  • N. N. Baxter
    • 1
  • B. A. Jobe
    • 3
  • A. K. Madan
    • 4
  • A. D. Pryor
    • 5
  • L. Khaitan
    • 6
  • A. Torquati
    • 7
  • S. T. Brower
    • 8
  • T. L. Trus
    • 9
  • S. Schwaitzberg
    • 10
  1. 1.Departments of Surgery and Health Policy Management and EvaluationUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of SurgeryUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  3. 3.Department of SurgeryOregon Health & Science UniversityPortlandUSA
  4. 4.Department of SurgeryUniversity of Tennessee Health Science CenterMemphisUSA
  5. 5.Department of SurgeryDuke University Medical CenterDurhamUSA
  6. 6.Department of General and GI SurgeryEmory University School of MedicineAtlantaUSA
  7. 7.Department of SurgeryVanderbilt University Medical CenterNashvilleUSA
  8. 8.Department of SurgeryMercer University School of MedicineSavannahUSA
  9. 9.Department of SurgeryUniversity of Rochester Medical CenterRochesterUSA
  10. 10.Department of SurgeryCambridge Health AllianceCambridgeUSA

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