"The objective of most Delphi applications is the reliable and creative exploration of ideas or the production of suitable information for decision-making. The Delphi Method is based on a structured process for collecting and distilling knowledge from a group of experts by means of a series of questionnaires interspersed with controlled opinion feed back."

Gazing into the Oracle: The Delphi Method and its Applications to Social Policy and Public Health, Michael Adler and Erio Ziglio (editors)

What is a Delphi Process?

The Delphi technique was developed in the 1950s by Rand Corporation as a valuable tool for modeling future scenarios. Originally used for military purposes, it was quickly adapted to other fields of research and is now used all over the world. The Delphi process has been employed with great success for new product development, sales and marketing research, evaluation of management methods, in demographic predictions, and in financial arenas. By focusing on eveloving trends rather than existing conditions, it is particularly effective in reviewing the complex subjects organizations are currently grappling with as they interact with the future.

The three qualifications for a traditional Delphi are: anonymity, iteration with controlled feedback, and statistical response (both qualitative and quantitative). Each round poses a series of Likert questions to the group; the answers are then tabulated, and those results are used to form the basis for the next round. Through several iterations, this process synthesizes the responses, resulting finally in a consensus that reflects the participants' combined intuition and savvy, as well as expert knowledge.

"Delphi may be characterized as a method for structuring a group communication process so that the process is effective in allowing a group of individuals, as a whole, to deal with a complex problem."

The Delphi Method Techniques and Applications,
Harold A. Linstone and Murray Turoff (editors)

Return to the Delphi Page

© MG Taylor Corporation, 1995 - 2002

iteration 3.5