Wednesday, 9 June 2010

readings: Modified Delphi Technique

Delphi technique goes back to the Rand Corporation in the US just post 1939-1945 war, although I guess the reference to the original delpi (the ancient greek oracle) is indicative of the roots of this approach.

There is an intersting paper which exemplifies an early(ish) application of the modified delphi in the context of higher education.

Alfred R Hecht, A Modified Delphi Technique for Obtaining Consensus on Institutional Research Priorities. Research Brief. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the North Central Region AERA Special Interest Group on Community College Research, July, 1977

The paper is rather old, but reads quite well and is clear. Additionally its quite instructive to read a 1977 paper and see what it looks like! personally, I love the way that people like ERIC and ACM Digital Library are making digitisations of older papers available as PDF images.

As a more recent  (tho' still fairly old) paper which is relevant to modern day applications
Custer et all 1999 is useful JVTE v15n2: The Modified Delphi Technique - A Rotational Modification

The wikipedia ref is OK but probably not helpful to the typical undergrad working on a project.

Linstone and Turrof’s book is online (for which some of the chapters may be useful, but which is probably a bit too much for you to read

Why use the modified Delphi?
  • Basically focus groups can be problematic
  • Members can skew the responses by influencing group dynamics
Delphi and modified delphi is also sometimes knows as quick consultancy

A useful brief account of the technique can be found in A Handbook of Techniques for Formative Evaluation By Judith W. George, John Cowan
  • It is possible to run it in either entirely remotely with deadlines on the voting and responses
  • Or to run it partly electronically and partly face to face, where you do the setup electronically, but then go through the consultation in a group in a fairly short time. 
  • Its a very efficient approach to get a good volume of evaluation data
Also worth considering - Nominal Group Technique - see wikipedia entry as a starting point

I plan to put some more info on my blog elaborating ways to use the approach, which will include a growing set of refs. You may also want to look at the TELUSS project

I would be interested in a student project to develop a tool to manage all the stages of the process of a modified delphi technique

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