Do you have a problem where you need a group of “experts” to reach a consensus, where consensus means a pre-study defined level of agreement? The Delphi Method is one such group technique. But what is it? When should it be used? How is it done? What are some advantages and disadvantages?
In order to answer these questions, we will use two videos together; one of a brief overview of the Delphi method: The Delphi Technique. And the second, The Delphi Technique: Do Nots and Why Nots, to give a detailed review of the method, how to use it, and what to be aware of.
The Delphi Technique video is from Shorts in Psychology. The Delphi Technique: Do Nots and Why Nots is from Dr. Jeffrey Franc, President and CEO at Stat59 and CEO of MedStatStudio. We will provide links to these videos at the end of the Blog.
What is the purpose of the Delphi Method?
“… to achieve agreement among a group of experts on certain issues where none previously existed.”
How does it do this?
Through a guided series of questionnaires or rounds from a panel of experts and subsequent feedback until consensus is reached.
Dr. Franc provides a flowchart of the method and describes the elements in detail.
What are some advantages of the Delphi Method?
- Avoids the influence of dominant personalities
- Removes group pressure
- Virtual meetings could be used
- Experts can participate anonymously
What are some disadvantages of the Delphi Method?
- Expert opinion will be established, but not necessarily right or wrong answers
- Slower than in-person meetings
- You must work to keep experts responding to the subsequent questionnaires
- The method is NOT a replacement for more rigorous methods
Dr. Franc places the Delphi Method at the lowest rung of the Evidenced Based Medicine Pyramid as shown in this diagram from his video. In other words, it should only be used when the other methods can’t be used.
In his video, Dr. Franc covers
- When to use the Delphi Method
- How to choose and manage the ‘Expert’ panel
- Defining operational consensus
- Planning a Delphi study
- Analyzing a Delphi study
- Discussion of all elements of Delphi flowchart
- An actual Delphi study example
You can view the Shorts in Psychology video here:
You can view Dr. Franc’s video here:
Dr. Franc’s video is nearly 50 minutes long, but if you are going to use the Delphi Method, his video is a must see!
NOTE: In recent years, using the Delphi technique to achieve consensus has been branded by some as manipulation. You can find YouTube videos that focus on that as a call to not use this method. However, if you follow the guidelines in the detailed video by Dr. Franc and use it appropriately, those type of criticisms won’t apply.