Consulting the oracle: using Delphi studies

1 November 2023
Autumn 2023

What are the advantages and disadvantages of Delphi studies, and when should they be preferred to other research methods? Jo Waters talks to those who use them.

Delphi studies – named after the ancient Greek oracle at Delphi – have become an established qualitative research method for eliciting a consensus view of a given topic.

The core approach uses a process of anonymous responses from an expert group to identify key themes and issues, and subsequent rounds of responses from the group are used to rank and prioritise these, as well as provide additional rationale and clarification for those rankings (Barrett and Hale, 2020).

Michael Bowen, Director of Research and Knowledge at the College, says Delphi studies were primarily developed as a way of answering questions that would be difficult, or maybe impossible, to answer by other means.

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