Delphi Method Online Questionnaire

Advantages of the Delphi Method

What is the Delphi method?

The Delphi method is a systematic and iterative approach used to achieve consensus within a group of experts. It usually involves rounds of anonymous questionnaires with controlled feedback. Decision-making using the Delphi method relies therefore on the convergence of experts’ opinions.

This method was initially developed by the RAND Corporation in the 1950s to gather expert opinion to forecast the impact of new technologies on future defence policy. Nowadays, the Delphi method is widely employed to establish best practices in industries like healthcare, education, and environmental sciences. The Delphi method is often applied where evidence is lacking or ambiguous, or where it would be impractical to answer the study question through other means. It can be used as a way to define new approaches or to align on optimal practices for consistent outcomes and to support/develop policy.


Advantages of the Delphi Method

Structured Communication: The Delphi method’s systematic approach using surveys with controlled feedback ensures that a conclusion is reached, enabling the group to achieve a consensus that accurately addresses the research question.

Unbiased Opinion: Participants provide anonymous responses, allowing them to express their opinion without fear of repercussion and without being influenced by the opinion of others that take part in the research.

Geographical Reach: The method can be used for projects that span across the globe as it can be supported and facilitated by virtual means. Without the geographic limitations inherent to some other research methods, the Delphi method allows for input from a diverse group of experts across various fields and locations.

Equal Weight for All Opinions: Responses are anonymous and lengthy discussions are avoided, meaning that every participant’s voice is given equal consideration. This prevents dominant individuals from overtaking the conversation and influencing the research outcome.

Cost and Time Efficiency: The Delphi method process can be managed with online tools. This way, expenses associated with travel, venue hire etc. can be avoided. The controlled feedback mechanism also does not allow for time-consuming discussions.


Considerations before using the Delphi Method

Limited Discussion: Participants cannot openly discuss ideas which limits their ability to elaborate. For certain research, open discussion could be needed, for instance when dealing with highly polarized opinions that require deeper exploration. This can be mitigated by including a small expert steering group when designing the study.

Commitment Needed: Participating in several rounds of survey could lead to some participants disengaging which could impact the quantity of the responses and quality of the research. A well-designed Delphi study plan will be able to take this challenge into account and mitigate that risk.

Responder Expertise: The Delphi method is typically used when there are no absolute answers or strong existing evidence, meaning that expert opinion is the most valuable data. Therefore, the expertise of the respondents is crucial. This emphasises the need for an effective process to identify and recruit the right participants when planning the study.


The Delphi Method in Healthcare

The Delphi method offers a range of advantages over other research methods when addressing questions or problems that are lacking strong data to formalise an answer. Some considerations must be taken on board from the start of the Delphi process to ensure that the study being designed will be able to manage challenges that may arise.

Triducive generate consensus-led evidence that gets published and supports change. As leading providers world-wide of modified Delphi consensus for the Pharmaceutical, Biotech, MedTech and Healthcare industries, and with 50+ publications and numerous strategic campaigns, Triducive has helped clients establish unmet needs and treatment standards, encourage optimal practices, support guideline or policy development.


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