Delphi Technique In Nursing Research

Afza.Malik GDA

Nursing Research and  Delphi Technique 

Delphi Technique In Nursing Research

Delphi Technique and Use,Historical Overview ,Requirement of Delphi Technique,Disadvantages of Delphi Technique,First Use of Delphi Technique,Delphi Technique In Nursing. 

Delphi Technique and Use

    The Delphi technique is a research method used to identify key issues, to set priorities, and to improve decision making through aggregating the judgments of a group of individuals. 

    The technique consists of using a series of mailed questionnaires to develop consensus among the participants without face-to-face participation. It provides the opportunity for broad participation and prevents any one member of the group from unduly influencing other members' responses. 

    Feedback is given to panel members on the responses to each of the questionnaires. Thus, panel members communicate indirectly with each other in a limited, goal-directed manner.

Historical Overview 

    The first questionnaire that is mailed asks participants to respond to a broad question. The responses to this questionnaire are then used to develop a more structured questionnaire. Each successive questionnaire is built on the previous one. 

    The second questionnaire requests participants to review the items identified in the first questionnaire and to indicate their degree of agreement or disagreement with the items, to provide a rationale for their judgments, to add items that are missing, and to rank-order the items according to their perceived priority. 

    On return of the second questionnaire the responses are reviewed, items are clarified or added, and the mean degree of agreement and the ranking of each item are computed. 

    In the third questionnaire, participants are asked to review the mean ranking from the second questionnaire and again to indicate their degree of agreement or disagreement and give their rationale if they disagree with the ranking. 

    Additional questionnaires are sent until the group reaches consensus. Many variations of this procedure have been used; the number of questionnaires used to range from three to seven.

Requirement of Delphi Technique

    To be eligible to participate as a panelist in a Delphi study the respondent should 

(a) be personally concerned about the problem being studied

(b) have relevant information to share

(c) place a high priority on completing the Delphi questionnaire on schedule

(d) believe that the information compiled will be of value to self and others ( Delbecq , Van de Ven, & Gustafsen , 1975).

Disadvantages of Delphi Technique

    Several disadvantages of the Delphi technique limit its application. First, there must be adequate time for mailing the questionnaires, their return, and their analysis. 

    Second, participants must have a high level of ability in written communication. And third, participants must be highly motivated to complete all the questionnaires.

First Use of Delphi Technique

    The Delphi technique was first developed by the Rand Corporation as a forecasting tool in the 1960s, when researchers found that results of a Delphi survey produced better predictions than round-table discussions. 

    The technique was later used to solicit opinions from experts on atomic warfare as a means of defense. It has since been applied in diverse fields, such as industry, social services, and nursing because of its usefulness and accuracy in predicting and in prioritizing.

Delphi Technique In Nursing 

The Delphi technique has been used in nursing studies to identify priorities for practice and research. 

    The American Nurses Association Center for Nursing Research (1980) used the technique to identify national research priorities for the 1980s; Demi, Meredith, and Gray (1996) used it to identify priorities for urological nursing research; Lew- and owski and Kositsky (1983) and Lindquist and colleagues (1993).

    Used it to identify research priorities for critical care nursing; and Lindemann (1981) surveyed members of the American Academy of Nursing to identify and prioritize issues important to nursing in the next decade. 

    In a creative application of the method Demi and Miles (1987) attempted to achieve consensus on the parameters of normal grief by enlisting a panel of experts in the field of grief and mourning. 

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