For people to feel confident in the conclusions and recommendations the Review makes, it needs to be evidence-based and incorporate the lived experiences of children and young people, their families, and the professionals working to support them.
The research streams have been planned to achieve that end and should provide the Review with the best available collation of published evidence, and qualitative and quantitative research.
As a first step we are commissioning a broad-based literature review, which will interface with our evidence gathering from the professional community.
This will examine the changing epidemiology (demographic profile) of gender dysphoria in children and young people, as well as the appropriate social, clinical, psychological and medical management.
We are aware that although there have been a lot of publications on this subject, there are still gaps and weaknesses in the evidence base. We anticipate that there is the potential to fill some of the evidence gaps through our commissioned research.
Quantitative research focuses on the collection and analysis of data to uncover patterns and quantify problems. It helps to answer questions like, for example, how many people have a particular outcome over time, or a response to medical intervention.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recently published two evidence reviews which show weaknesses in the follow-up data collected about young people using specialist gender identity services. The Review will be working collaboratively with the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust to look at whether some of these data gaps can be filled.
Qualitative research focuses on the collection and analysis of non-numerical data (text, video, audio) to understand different people’s experiences, views and opinions, to explore issues and generate new ideas.
The Review will be commissioning a participative, qualitative research project with the principle aim being to understand the full range of outcomes for young people with gender dysphoria. The research will seek to capture young people’s perspectives on their journeys, including into adulthood, and their views on how services could and should be delivered in the future. Perspectives will also be gathered from parents and carers, professionals delivering services, teaching staff, commissioners of services and other relevant individuals.
Integration of findings
In recognition that not all the published evidence is likely to be of high enough quality to form the sole basis for our recommendations, a consensus development approach will be used to synthesise the published evidence and research outputs of the academic work with stakeholder submissions and expert opinion.