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Primary care
Evidence maps: a tool to guide research agenda setting
  1. Fares Alahdab1,
  2. Mohammad Hassan Murad2
  1. 1 Mayo Evidence-based Practice Center, Mayo Clinic Minnesota, Rochester, Minnesota, USA
  2. 2 Department of Preventive Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Fares Alahdab, Mayo Clinic Minnesota, Rochester MN 55905, USA; alahdab.fares{at}, fares.alahdab{at}


A surprisingly huge proportion of medical research still shows poor quality in design, conduct and analysis, leading to far from optimal robustness of findings and validity of conclusions. Research waste remains a problem caused by a number of reasons. Asking the wrong research questions and ignoring the existing evidence are possible preventable ones. Evidence maps are tools that may aid in guiding clinical investigators and help in agenda setting of future research. In this article, we explain how they serve such a goal and outline the steps required to build effective evidence maps.

  • evidence maps
  • evidence synthesis
  • reviews
  • research questions
  • research agenda
  • research waste
  • reporting

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  • Contributors FA: conceived the idea of this article, drafted the manuscript, designed the figures and approved the final version. MHM: reviewed the manuscript, provided critical feedback and approved the final version.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.