Advertisement

The Delphi Technique

  • Jane ChalmersEmail author
  • Mike Armour
Reference work entry

Abstract

This chapter introduces the Delphi technique and explores its applications relevant to the health field. The Delphi technique is a method of gaining consensus on a particular topic through the use of rounds of questioning of experts in the field. It has three characteristics that make it distinct from other group interaction methods: (1) anonymous group interactions and responses, (2) multiple rounds of questioning, and (3) the provision of feedback to the group between each round. Each characteristic is designed to reduce bias in gaining consensus, such as removing the influence of societal and peer pressures and encouraging the convergence of ideas while still using an anonymous group setting. This chapter will facilitate decision-making in setting up and executing a Delphi study and covers question design, delivery method, employing experts, determining the point of study termination, and reporting of results. Finally, the limitations of the method, particularly the lack of guidelines for researchers, are highlighted to encourage researchers to make a priori decisions which will assist in reducing bias and improving the validity of the Delphi technique.

Keywords

Delphi technique Consensus Forecasting Experts Stability Modified Delphi Panel 

References

  1. Alraek T, Borud E, White A. Selecting acupuncture treatment for hot flashes: a delphi consensus compared with a clinical trial. J Altern Complement Med. 2011;17(1):33–8.  https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2010.0070.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baker J, Lovell K, Harris N. How expert are the experts? An exploration of the concept of ‘expert’ within Delphi panel techniques. Nurs Res. 2006;14(1):59–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bardecki MJ. Participants’ response to the Delphi method: an attitudinal perspective. Technol Forecast Soc Chang. 1984;25(3):281–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Beech B. Studying the future: a Delphi survey of how multi-disciplinary clinical staff view the likely development of two community mental health centres over the course of the next two years. J Adv Nurs. 1997;25(2):331–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Boulkedid R, Abdoul H, Loustau M, Sibony O, Alberti C. Using and reporting the Delphi method for selecting healthcare quality indicators: a systematic review. PLoS One. 2011;6(6):e20476.  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0020476.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brooks KW. Delphi technique: expanding applications. N Cent Assoc Q. 1979;53(3):377–85.Google Scholar
  7. Butterworth T, Bishop V. Identifying the characteristics of optimum practice: findings from a survey of practice experts in nursing, midwifery and health visiting. J Adv Nurs. 1995;22(1):24–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chalmers KJ, Catley MJ, Evans SF, Moseley GL. Clinical assessment of the impact of pelvic pain on women. Pain. 2017;158(3):498–504.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chan AW, Tetzlaff JM, Altman DG, Laupacis A, Gotzsche PC, Krleza-Jeric K, Moher D. SPIRIT 2013 statement: defining standard protocol items for clinical trials. Ann Intern Med. 2013;158(3):200–7.  https://doi.org/10.7326/0003-4819-158-3-201302050-00583.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cochran SW. The Delphi method: formulating and refining group judgements. J Hum Sci. 1983;2(2):111–7.Google Scholar
  11. Cochrane S, Smith CA, Possamai-Inesedy A. Development of a fertility acupuncture protocol: defining an acupuncture treatment protocol to support and treat women experiencing conception delays. J Altern Complement Med. 2011;17(4):329–37.  https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2010.0190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cotchett MP, Landorf KB, Munteanu SE, Raspovic AM. Consensus for dry needling for plantar heel pain (plantar fasciitis): a modified delphi study. Acupunct Med. 2011;29(3):193–202.  https://doi.org/10.1136/aim.2010.003145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Couper MR. The Delphi technique: characteristics and sequence model. Adv Nurs Sci. 1984;7(1):72–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Custer RL, Scarcella JA, Stewart BR. The modified Delphi technique-A rotational modification. J Career Tech Educ. 1999;15(2).Google Scholar
  15. Dajani JS, Sincoff MZ, Talley WK. Stability and agreement criteria for the termination of Delphi studies. Technol Forecast Soc Chang. 1979;13(1):83–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dalkey NC. The Delphi method: an experimental study of group opinion. In: Dalkey NC, Rourke DL, Lewis R, Snyder D, editors. Studies in the quality of life: Delphi and decision-making. Lexington: Lexington Books; 1972. p. 13–54.Google Scholar
  17. Dalkey N, Helmer O. An experimental application of the Delphi method to the use of experts. Manag Sci. 1963;9(3):458–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dalkey NC, Rourke DL. Experimental assessment of Delphi procedures with group value judgments. In: Dalkey NC, Rourke DL, Lewis R, Snyder D, editors. Studies in the quality of life: Delphi and decision-making. Lexington: Lexington Books; 1971.Google Scholar
  19. Delbecq AL, Van de Ven AH, Gustafson DH. Group techniques for program planning: a guide to nominal group and Delphi processes. Illinois: Scott Foresman; 1975.Google Scholar
  20. Eubank BH, Mohtadi NG, Lafave MR, Wiley JP, Bois AJ, Boorman RS, Sheps DM. Using the modified Delphi method to establish clinical consensus for the diagnosis and treatment of patients with rotator cuff pathology. BMC Med Res Methodol. 2016;16:56.  https://doi.org/10.1186/s12874-016-0165-8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Flower A, Lewith GT, Little P. Seeking an oracle: using the Delphi process to develop practice guidelines for the treatment of endometriosis with Chinese herbal medicine. J Altern Complement Med. 2007;13(9):969–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hasson F, Keeney S. Enhancing rigour in the Delphi technique research. Technol Forecast Soc Chang. 2011;78(9):1695–704.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hasson F, Keeney S, McKenna H. Research guidelines for the Delphi survey technique. J Adv Nurs. 2000;32(4):1008–15.Google Scholar
  24. Heiko A. von der Gracht. Consensus measurement in Delphi studies. Technological Forecasting and Social Change. 2012; 79(8):1525–1536.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hsu C-C, Sandford BA. The Delphi technique: making sense of consensus. Pract Assess Res Eval. 2007a;12(10):1–8.Google Scholar
  26. Hsu C-C, Sandford BA. Minimizing non-response in the Delphi process: how to respond to non-response. Pract Assess Res Eval. 2007b;12(17):62–78.Google Scholar
  27. Junger S, Payne SA, Brine J, Radbruch L, Brearley SG. Guidance on Conducting and REporting DElphi Studies (CREDES) in palliative care: recommendations based on a methodological systematic review. Palliat Med. 2017;31(8):684–706.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0269216317690685.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Keeney S, Hasson F, McKenna HP. A critical review of the Delphi technique as a research methodology for nursing. Int J Nurs Stud. 2001;38(2):195–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Keeney S, McKenna H, Hasson F. The Delphi technique in nursing and health research. Oxford: Wiley; 2010.Google Scholar
  30. Keeney S, Hasson F, McKenna H. Debates, criticisms and limitations of the Delphi. In: Keeney Ss, Hasson F, McKenna H, editors. Delphi Technique in Nursing and Health Research. Sussex: John Wiley & Sons; 2011.Google Scholar
  31. Likert R. A technique for the measurement of attitudes. Arch Psychol. 1932;22(140):55. Google Scholar
  32. Linstone HA. The Delphi technique environmental impact assessment, technology assessment, and risk analysis. Berlin: Springer; 1985. p. 621–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Linstone HA, Turoff M. The Delphi method: techniques and applications, vol. 29. Reading: Addison-Wesley; 1975.Google Scholar
  34. Linstone HA, Turoff M. Delphi: a brief look backward and forward. Technol Forecast Soc Chang. 2011;78(9):1712–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Lintonen T, Konu A, Rönkä S, Kotovirta E. Drugs foresight 2020: a Delphi expert panel study. Subst Abus Treat Prev Policy. 2014;9(1):18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Ludwig BG. Internationalizing extension: an exploration of the characteristics evident in a state university extension system that achieves internationalization. PhD Dissertation, The Ohio State University; 1994.Google Scholar
  37. Mead D, Moseley L. The use of the Delphi as a research approach. Nurs Res. 2001;8(4):4–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Miller L. Determining what could/should be: the Delphi technique and its application. Paper presented at the meeting of the 2006 annual meeting of the Mid-Western Educational Research Association, Columbus; 2006.Google Scholar
  39. Murry JW Jr, Hammons JO. Delphi: a versatile methodology for conducting qualitative research. Rev High Educ. 1995;18(4):423–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Nelson TF, Xuan Z, Babor TF, Brewer RD, Chaloupka FJ, Gruenewald PJ, et al. Efficacy and the strength of evidence of US alcohol control policies. Am J Prev Med. 2013;45(1):19–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Okoli C, Pawlowski SD. The Delphi method as a research tool: an example, design considerations and applications. Inf Manag. 2004;42(1):15–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Pfeiffer J. New look at education. Poughkeepsie: Odyssey Press; 1968.Google Scholar
  43. Powell C. The Delphi technique: myths and realities. J Adv Nurs. 2003;41(4):376–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Raskin MS. The Delphi study in field instruction revisited: expert consensus on issues and research priorities. J Soc Work Educ. 1994;30(1):75–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Rayens MK, Hahn EJ. Building consensus using the policy Delphi method. Policy Polit Nurs Pract. 2000;1(4):308–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Rowe G, Wright G. The Delphi technique as a forecasting tool: issues and analysis. Int J Forecast. 1999;15(4):353–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Sackman H. Delphi critique. Lexington: Lexington Books; 1975.Google Scholar
  48. Salant P, Dillman I, Don A. How to conduct your own survey. New York: Wiley; 1994.Google Scholar
  49. Schneider P, Evaniew N, Rendon JS, McKay P, Randall RL, Turcotte R, Investigators P. Moving forward through consensus: protocol for a modified Delphi approach to determine the top research priorities in the field of orthopaedic oncology. BMJ Open. 2016;6(5):e011780.  https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2016-011780.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Seemann R, Flury S, Pfefferkorn F, Lussi A, Noack MJ. Restorative dentistry and restorative materials over the next 20 years: a Delphi survey. Dent Mater. 2014;30(4):442–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Sheibe M, Skutsch M, Schofer J. Experiments in Delphi methodology. In: Linstone HA, Turoff M, editors. The Delphi method: techniques and applications, vol. 29. Reading: Addison-Wesley; 1975. p. 262–87.Google Scholar
  52. Smith CA, Zaslawski CJ, Zheng Z, Cobbin D, Cochrane S, Lenon GB, Bensoussan A. Development of an instrument to assess the quality of acupuncture: results from a delphi process. J Altern Complement Med. 2011;17(5):441–52.  https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2010.0457.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Smith CA, Grant S, Lyttleton J, Cochrane S. Using a Delphi consensus process to develop an acupuncture treatment protocol by consensus for women undergoing Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) treatment. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2012;12:88.  https://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6882-12-88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Thangaratinam S, Redman CW. The Delphi technique. Obstet Gynaecol. 2005;7(2):120–5.Google Scholar
  55. van Vliet DCR, van der Meij E, Bouwsma EVA, Vonk Noordegraaf A, van den Heuvel B, Meijerink WJHJ, Anema JR. A modified Delphi method toward multidisciplinary consensus on functional convalescence recommendations after abdominal surgery. Surg Endosc. 2016;30(12):5583–95.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00464-016-4931-9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. von der Gracht. The future of logistics: scenarios for 2025. Springer Science & Business Media; 2008.Google Scholar
  57. von der Gracht. Consensus measurement in Delphi studies: review and implications for future quality assurance. Technol Forecast Soc Chang. 2012;79(8):1525–36.Google Scholar
  58. Weaver WT. The Delphi forecasting method. Phi Delta Kappan. 1971;52(5):267–71.Google Scholar
  59. Wheeller B, Hart T, Whysall P. Application of the Delphi technique: a reply to Green, Hunter and Moore. Tour Manag. 1990;11(2):121–2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Whitehead D. An international Delphi study examining health promotion and health education in nursing practice, education and policy. J Clin Nurs. 2008;17(7):891–900.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Whitman NI. The Delphi technique as an alternative for committee meetings. J Nurs Educ. 1990;29(8):377–9.Google Scholar
  62. Whyte DN. Key trends and issues impacting local government recreation and park administration in the 1990s: a focus for strategic management and research. J Park Recreat Adm. 1992;10(3):89–106.Google Scholar
  63. Williams PL, Webb C. The Delphi technique: a methodological discussion. J Adv Nurs. 1994;19(1):180–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Young SJ, Jamieson LM. Delivery methodology of the Delphi: a comparison of two approaches. J Park Recreat Adm. 2001;19(1).Google Scholar
  65. Young SJ, Ross CM. Recreational sports trends for the 21st century: results of a Delphi study. NIRSA J. 2000;24(2):24–37.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Western Sydney University (Campbelltown Campus)PenrithAustralia
  2. 2.NICMWestern Sydney University (Campbelltown Campus)PenrithAustralia

Personalised recommendations