Abstract In transdisciplinary fields such as science policy, research agendas do not evolve organically from within disciplines but instead require stakeholders to engage in active co-creation. 'Big questions' exercises fulfill this need but simultaneously introduce new challenges in their subjectivity and potential bias. By applying Q methodology to an exercise in developing an international collaborative research agenda for legislative science advice (LSA), we demonstrate a technique to illustrate stakeholder perspectives. While the LSA international respondents—academics, practitioners, and policymakers—demonstrated no difference in their research priorities across advisory system roles, the analysis by developing and developed nation status revealed both common interests in institutional- and systems-level research and distinct preferences. Stakeholders in developing nations prioritized the design of advisory systems, especially in low- and middle-income countries, while those in developed countries emphasized policymaker evidence use. These differences illustrate unique regional research needs that should be met through an international agenda for LSA.