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Nominal Group Technique

The following tools help people make a final decision by voting and letting everyone’s ideas be shown in full to the others.


  1. Without any discussion, a group of five to nine persons individually writes down some ideas related to a problem.

  2. One at a time, each person records his/her ideas on a post-it note until all of the ideas have been numbered and listed.

  3. The group leader asks for questions or comments to help clarify the meaning, importance, or logic behind each idea. (Understanding the ideas)

  4. A preliminary vote on the importance of each item is taken:

(a) Each participant selects five to nine priority ideas from the list (depending upon the total number of ideas).

(b) The participants write down each priority idea on a card in a numbered list and record the number of the idea in the upper left-hand corner of the card.

(c) The participants rank the ideas. If five were selected, 5 should be assigned to the most important idea, 4 to the second most important, and so forth. The rank numbers are recorded in the lower right-hand corner of each card.

(d) The group leader records the votes, listing the numbers of the ideas selected in one column and the ranked scores for each number in a second column.

(e) A vote tally is made and the idea with the largest number of votes is noted.

  • If a clear choice emerges from the previous steps, the process can be terminated. If no clear choice emerges, the preliminary vote is discussed to examine peculiar voting patterns and note discrepancies (e.g., if the same idea received three 5 votes and three 1 votes).
  • A final vote is taken using the procedure outlined in step 4.

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Using Creative Problem Solving

National Chiao Tung University