Useful but no oracle: reflections on the use of a Delphi Group in a multi-methods policy research study

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Bloor, Michael John ; Sampson, Helen ; Baker, Susan Catherine ; Dahlgren, Katrin (2013)

Delphi Groups are an increasingly popular method, not least because electronic communications have made it easier to assemble a 'virtual' expert panel, but there have been a number of review articles which have pointed to a lack of rigour. Using an extended case study of a Delphi Group designed to establish agreed policy recommendations and deriving from a project using observational and semi-structured interview methods, this article examines the value of Delphi Groups as part of a mixed method research design. The article includes a narrative of the sequence of events in the Delphi Group's deliberations, a detailed examination of how the group process led to the modification of one draft policy recommendation, a further examination of a contested additional policy recommendation and a list of pragmatic recommendations on the conduct of Delphi Groups in respect of size, composition, recruitment, contestation, timing, closure and scope.
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