Steps of the Delphi Technique

According to Dunn (2008), a policy Delphi may be conducted in a variety of ways, depending on the topic and the skill of the analyst(s).  In essence it is a major research project, which basically involves a series of steps:
1.      Issue specification: The analyst(s) must decide what items need (or should) be included on the first questionnaire.
2.      Selection of advocates: It is here that the experts are selected.  The size of the group should range from 10-30 individuals.
3.      Questionnaire design: Because there are a series of rounds, the analyst(s) should identify all of the items to be included in the initial questionnaire as they will also be included in the subsequent rounds.  The questionnaires may include scales to measure the following question types:
·         Forecasting items – “requesting that respondents provide subjective estimates of the probability of occurrence of particular events” (Dunn, 2008, p. 183).
·         Issue items – “requesting respondents to rank issues in terms of their importance” (Dunn, 2008, p. 183).
·         Goal items – “that solicit judgements about the desirability and/or feasibility of pursuing certain goals” (Dunn, 2008, p. 183).
·         Option items – “requesting that respondents identify alternative courses of action that may contribute to the attainment of goals and objectives” (Dunn, 2008, p. 183).
4.      Analysis of first-round results: Once the questionnaires are returned following the first round, the data is considered for initial positions on forecasts, issues, goals and options; it is collated and is then presented as statistical data.
5.      Development of subsequent questionnaires: The collated statistical summaries for each question should be laid out in a second round format, and then will be distributed to participants with supportive correspondence. Questionnaires will need to be developed for the subsequent rounds, and the results of the prior questionnaires will dictate the questions in subsequent ones.  This process will continue until the Delphi concludes according to the pre-defined criteria.
6.      Organization of group meetings: One of the last items is to bring all of the participants together for a face-to-face discussion.  This provides the participants with an opportunity to debate their positions and receive feedback.
7.      Preparation of final report: Hopefully, upon completion of this process the panel of experts will have come to a consensus.  The final report should include a review of the issues and options, as well as the positions and arguments.
(Dunn, 2008; Vernon, 2009)