The Delphi technique: a worthwhile research approach for nursing?


  • Hugh P. McKenna DPM BSc(Hons) DipN RMN RGN AdvDipEd RNT

    1. Lecturer in Nursing, Department of Nursing, University of Ulster, Coleraine, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland
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Since its introduction as a research approach in the late 1940s the Delphi technique has had over 1000 published research utilizations. Most of these have been in the field of social policy. However, a review of contemporary nursing literature suggests that it is becoming a popular choice among nurse researchers. With its focus on maximizing participant's judgements and decision-making abilities the Delphi technique is a useful tool in the research armoury of a young profession. However, questions remain about its scientific respectability. This paper gives an overview of what the Delphi technique is, the criteria for selecting it as a research approach, the studies where it has been used and its advantages and disadvantages.