Research guidelines for the Delphi survey technique
Consensus methods such as the Delphi survey technique are being employed to help enhance effective decision-making in health and social care. The Delphi survey is a group facilitation technique, which is an iterative multistage process, designed to transform opinion into group consensus. It is a flexible approach, that is used commonly within the health and social sciences, yet little guidance exists to help researchers undertake this method of data collection. This paper aims to provide an understanding of the preparation, action steps and difficulties that are inherent within the Delphi. Used systematically and rigorously, the Delphi can contribute significantly to broadening knowledge within the nursing profession. However, careful thought must be given before using the method; there are key issues surrounding problem identification, researcher skills and data presentation that must be addressed. The paper does not claim to be definitive; it purports to act as a guide for those researchers who wish to exploit the Delphi methodology.