There are different styles of conducting research. Some researchers take surveys, some gather information through focus groups, while others do content analysis. One of the popular methods of research is the Delphi Method. Researchers have to examine the context in which the investigation is to be done, and then decide if the Delphi method is suitable for them or not. Once this decision has been made then how does one conduct research following the Delphi Method?
This method uses the opinions of expert panels. A survey of all their opinions is taken with the final data giving an answer to the questions sought by the researcher. This method of research is conducted in three rounds.
The first round is effectively a pre-test of the survey. The researchers talks to an in-house panel. This panel along with the researcher aim to identify the different questions that are going to be asked over the course of the investigation.
In the second round, the expert panel examines all the issue which are involved in the research. There are times when certain items are overlooked in the first round. On re-examination of those issues the panel might feel that they were important. So they add these extra items to the list of questions that they have prepared.
In the final round, the expert panel makes judgements on the list of items that they have prepared. By now the questionnaire would have become a multiple choice format and the panel has to discuss and choose options from the multiple choices. At the end of the exercise the analysis team prepares a report to present to the supervisory body.
This method has several advantages not least of which is the fact that the information is gathered, refined and then analysed yet again by the expert panel. Once subject matter experts have gone through a data so many times, it is unlikely that anything of importance is left out.