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The Delphi Technique : 

The Delphi Technique Roger Lee Arkansas State University EDFN 8773 Doctoral Seminar, Research and Evaluation

Delphi defined….. : 

Delphi defined….. Speculation Knowledge Wisdom Insight Informed Judgement

Delphi defined….. : 

Delphi defined….. An “organized method” for collecting views and information pertaining to a specific area; A method that allows dialogue between geographically separated experts while serving an effective means for learning; Gathering a group of experts to forecast events and assess complex issues; Collective human intelligence; A process of exploring… assessing… and evaluating.

Delphi… an historical perspective : 

Delphi… an historical perspective Developed in 1953 by Olaf Helmer & Norman Dalkey to address military forecasting. 1960’s – A forecasting instrument in many American industries & human services. 1970’s – Critics questioned the scientific respectability of Delphi saying it lacked a scientific research paradigm. Early 1980’s – In education alone, over 441 Delphi dissertations. Late 1980’s – an additional 361 dissertations reported.

Delphi..when is it appropriate? : 

Delphi..when is it appropriate? In situations where there is no clear-cut resolution of a given policy issue; When time & cost constraints make frequent face-to-face meetings difficult to arrange. When the heterogeneity of the participants must be preserved and anonymity assured. What kind of group communication process is desirable in order to explore the problem at hand? Who are the people with expertise on the problem & where are they located? What are the alternative techniques available?

Delphi… why use it? : 

Delphi… why use it? To construct a 4-year baccalaureate degree program; Automotive Technologist Curriculum; Design new curriculum in social work, nursing, and medical education; Metal fabrication; Literacy campaigns; Land use policies; Future roles & organizational arrangements of hospitals and other health services; Recreation & Park Administration To predict the impact of socio-economic developments on future school systems, training, and research needs.

Delphi – Basic Findings : 

Delphi – Basic Findings A majority of the applications are in the field of education; Education goals and objectives; Curriculum & campus planning; Development of educational criteria and policies. Output in quantity not matched by quality; Research investigating Delphi is low in relation to its application.

Delphi… potential dangers : 

Delphi… potential dangers Individuals may misinterpret the Delphi exercise to be a policy “decision” tool rather than a policy “analysis” tool; Once a Delphi exercise has started there is no way to guarantee or control for a specific pattern of response; The Delphi has been used as a political tool rather than an analytical tool.

Delphi… +’s : 

Delphi… +’s Opportunities for large number of people to participate; Focus is on “ideas” rather than “individuals”; Anonymity for participants which make contributions of ideas a safe activity; Opportunities for participants to reconsider their opinions; Allows for identification of priorities.

Delphi … -’s : 

Delphi … -’s Large amount of time to conduct several rounds; The complexity of data analysis; The difficulty of maintaining participant enthusiasm throughout process; The problem of keeping statements value free and clearly defined; Self reporting data is subject to respondent’s biases and memories; The bandwagon effect of a majority opinion; The power of persuasion or prestigious individuals to shape group opinion; The vulnerability of group dynamics to manipulation; The unwillingness of individuals to abandon publicly stated positions.

Who participates…?Designing the “expert” team : 

Who participates…?Designing the “expert” team A national survey of directors of social work…. 69 respondents generated 220 names a nominee had to receive 5 or more votes 14 experts were identified

How Consensus is Reached... : 

How Consensus is Reached... Experts submit a statement regarding the issue at hand... Participants vote on statements… a statement is retained if 70% of the panelists rated the issue “3” or higher on a scale of 1-5.

How Consensus is Reached... : 

How Consensus is Reached... Statistical consensus can be derived by using the quartile deviation. The quartile deviation is calculated by determining the quartile range, subtracting the lowest number, and dividing by 2. A quartile deviation of 1.00 or less indicates consensus by the group.

Slide 14: 

Delphi Stages Delphi Processes Round 1: Participants are chosen. Initial data is gathered. Participants present their views on the policy. Round 2: A list of possible alternatives is compiled and distributed to participants. Ideas are synthesized and a smaller number of possible policy recommenda- tions are compiled. Round 3: An amended list of alternatives is distributed. These “policy” ideas are fine tuned by the participants. Study Results One collective policy is established. The Delphi Method

References... : 

References... Adler, M. & Ziglio, E. (Eds.) (1996). Gazing into the Oracle: The Delphi Method and its Application to Social Policy and Public Health. Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Bramante, A.C. (1988). Establishing a Basis for the Development of an Undergraduate Curriculum in Recreation and Leisure Studies in Brazil: A Delphi Approach. A thesis submitted for partial fulfillment for Ph.D. degree. Pennsylvania State University. Raskin, M.S. (1994). The Delphi Study in Field Instruction Revisited: Expert Consensus on Issues and Research Priorities. Journal of Social Work Education. V30 n1 pp 75-89.

References - continued... : 

References - continued... Shih, C. & Gamon, J.A. (1997). Using the Delphi Technique to Assess Educational Needs Related to Extension’s 4-H Beef Program. Journal of Agricultural Education. v38 n1 pp 14-20. Webber, C.F. (1995). School Board Members’ Perceptions of the Future: Patterns and Implications. (EA026769) Winzenried, A. (1997). Delphi Studies: The Value of Expert Opinion Bridging the Gap -- Data to Knowledge. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the International Association of School Librarianship. Vancouver, BC