Delphi Technique

A sampling method used to obtain an expert opinion without a face-to-face meeting. A series of self-administered questionnaires are mailed to a number of experts, opinion leaders, or informants to establish, for example, which participants would be appropriate for a particular program or which health education program should be implemented in a community. After three or four rounds of questioning, the results are polled, tabulated, and shared. The Delphi technique or process, unlike the nominal group process, allows participants to present their views impersonally and confidentially without overtly influencing the opinions of others (Sarvela & McDermott, 1993). This technique should be used only by trained professionals because although it is very effective with community groups, it can be viewed by some as manipulative. See Nominal Group Process.

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