In the research world the Delphi Method has been a huge development tool that has changed many areas of scientific study, ways of working and communication improvements. Real world evidence is used in this research method and has been tried and tested for many years.

Here is your guide to the Delphi Method and how it has developed its success.

How does the Delphi Method work?

By using a select panel of experts who will deliver their anonymous opinions on a subject they are experienced in. The topic is usually quite complex, but the experts themselves will have the knowledge in this area. These experts will develop questionnaires to be distributed to people within the industry they are focusing on, like paedology or cardiovascular research. Again, these users will all be anonymous to help develop realistic and developed responses from each participant.

How it is further developed

The research will go through a series of rounds. This means that many participants will be asked the same questions. The first round of questions, for example, may be quite broad and generic, which could be narrowed down in the second round or asked again to see if a user’s thoughts have changed. It also helps to remove bias in these scenarios, as everyone’s responses are anonymous and there should be no way to reveal who is who.

Why is this method so popular?

In the research world the Delphi method has been proven to be hugely influential in medical trials, changing workplace practices and more. Due to the main crux of the research process relying on anonymous feedback, people are more likely to express their true opinions. This is further broken down as more rounds of questionnaires are delivered to participants, who would have had time to review other opinions and come up with their own tailored response.

There are potential weaknesses to the method however, despite its popularity. The general consensus could be heavily weighted in one direction, making it a potentially unreliable source. This is especially true if the results come back at a 60% supported, 40% unsupported conclusion.

Either way, the Delphi method has been relied on as an established research method developing the opinions of experts and making valuable contributions in the medical field and beyond.