6 sequential steps in Delphi technique
It is a modification of the brainstorming technique and involves obtaining the opinion of experts physically separated and unknown to each other. All these opinions are handled by a central coordinator, who consolidates the opinions and this information is sent back to the experts for further analysis and opinion refinement. The Delphi technique is characterized by the following sequential- steps:
(i) The problem is identified and a set of questions are built relating to the problem so that the answers to these questions would generate solutions to the problem. These questions are consolidated in the form of a questionnaire.
(ii) Experts in the problem area are identified and contacted. The questionnaire is sent to each member who anonymously and independently answers the questions and sends it back to the central coordinator.
(iii) The results of this questionnaire are compiled and analyzed and on the basis of the responses received, a second questionnaire is developed, which is mailed back to participating members.
(iv) The members are asked again to comment, suggest and answer the questions, possibly generating new ideas and solutions.
(v) The responses to this second questionnaire are complied and analyzed and if a consensus has not been reached, then a third questionnaire is developed, pinpointing the issue and unresolved areas of concern.
(vi) The above process is repeated until a consensus is obtained. Then the final report is prepared.
One of the advantages of the Delphi technique is that the group members are totally independent and are not influenced by the opinion of other members. Also the members do not have to be present at one location, so that an expert who is geographically separated can also be asked for his opinion, so that the cost of bringing these experts together is avoided.