The Delphi Technique begins with the development of a set of open-ended questions on a specific issue. These questions are then distributed to various ‘experts’. The responses to these questions are summarised and a second set of questions that seek to clarify areas of agreement and disagreement is formulated and distributed to the same group of ‘experts’.
Advantages of Delphi Technique.
• Is conducted in writing and does not require face-to-face meetings:
- responses can be made at the convenience of the participant;
- individuals from diverse backgrounds or from remote locations to work together on the same problems;
- is relatively free of social pressure, personality influence, and individual dominance and is, therefore, conducive to independent thinking and gradual formulation of reliable judgments or forecasting of results;
- helps generate consensus or identify divergence of opinions among groups hostile to each other;
• Helps keep attention directly on the issue:
• Allows a number of experts to be called upon to provide a broad range of views, on which to base
analysis—“two heads are better than one”:
- allows sharing of information and reasoning among participants;
- iteration enables participants to review, re-evaluate and revise all their previous statements in light of comments made by their peers;
• Is inexpensive.
Disadvantages of Delphi Technique:
• Information comes from a selected group of people and may not be representative;
• Tendency to eliminate extreme positions and force a middle-of-the-road consensus;
• More time-consuming than group process methods;
• Requires skill in written communication;
• Requires adequate time and participant commitment.
Focus groups are a form of group interview that capitalises on communication between research participants in order to generate data. Although group interviews... [continues]
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