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What is the Delphi method?

Delphi method
Hello, everybody. Welcome to my class about Delphi Method. This is Marianna Sigala. I’m a professor of tourism at the university of South of Australia. I’m not Australian myself. Actually, I’ m from Greece. And that’s why probably I’m going to talk to you about Delphi Method. Because I will explain ‘Delphi’. It’s not only a Greek word. But it is a methodology that roots from Greece. Where does it come from Greece? Delphi, it derives from the Oracle of Delphi. For those who don’t know – delphi, it’s a very holy place located in the mainland of Greece. This is the place where the ancient Greeks used to go and ask the experts about their opinions, what the future was going to be.
So in the same principle nowadays, we use Delphi Method as a communication technique. It follows a very systematic, interactive, and structured approach to ask a panel of experts about their opinions towards the future. What are the trends and what are the implications that going to come.
What are the underlying principles of the Delphi Method
There are basically two: the first one is that predictions come from a structured group, they are more reliable and more credible than predictions which come from an unstructured group whereby everybody says whatever they want. The second principle relies on what we usually call the wisdom of the crowds, meaning that the opinions of many people consolidated can be more reliable than the single opinion of a single individual. So as I explained above, Delphi Method is a technique to use experts to predict the future. How do we implement it? There are series of steps to follow. First of all, experts will receive a question asking their opinions about the predictor related to the topic of the research.
The procedure is repeated in several rounds, but after first round, there is a facilitator who consolidates the opinions of the various experts. And then provides experts the feedbacks about the answer from everyone, along with the reasons why they gave this answer. The experts, after read the opinion of everyone, they are advised to revise their answers and come back with a new prediction of the future.
The facilitator now has to repeat this procedure again in another round by giving back again all the answers to the experts. Now, it is predicted that this process of different rounds needs to be repeated until there is a consensus or a consolidation about the opinions given by the experts. How many times and how many rounds the facilitator has to do? This really depends on what is the criteria defined by the researchers to stop and finalize the Delphi Method. The criteria can be the reach of a consensus, or it can be a certain amount of rounds that he or she has decided to do, or it might be the stability of results, which it might be reflected.
For example, a consolidated mean or a specific score of a medium, that it can be achieved through different opinions of the experts. Now, how do we communicate the results? And how do we send the feedback and the questionnaire to the experts? There are many different tools that we can use to communicate with them and to provide the feedback.
We can use face to face meetings. This is the case whereby the Delphi Method is called mini-Delphi, or estimate talk, estimate technique. But of course, nowadays we can run the Delphi Method in a much more efficient way and much more effective way. We can use technologies, particularly internet-based technologies, like online forums, social networks, virtual panels to identify experts worldwide. So we don’t have to rely only on the ones who are nearby to us. And we can use the technology again to send the feedback and the questionnaire in a very timely and very fast way.
Now, if we use the technology and particularly the internet to communicate with our experts, this is the case whereby we call the Delphi Method, the Hyper Delphi or Electronic Delphi, and some other people, they might call it computer-based Delphi Method. The Tech Cast Project. It’s actually an example of how technologies and particularly the internet social media networks can be used to implement the Delphi Method. The Tech Cast Project. It was founded by the George Washington University with the purpose to identify experts on technology and survey them about their opinions related to the technology trends and their implications in our society and in our economy.
So if you go to the website and this is a screen shot, you will see that this project actually consolidates the view of one hundred fifty international experts providing their opinions about the technology trends and challenges in our society. The project consolidates this feedback. It produces consulting reports that anyone interested on the topic can actually download and find more information through the website of the project as well.
It is slightly different from the electronic Delphi. It’s what we currently call Real-time Delphi. What is the difference between electronic Delphi and Real-time Delphi? The difference is that Real-time Delphi is based on a real-time calculation of the opinions of the different experts and the provision of the feedback to the experts on real-time again. What does this mean? It means that the experts do not have to wait to receive the feedback of the others, and then send the feedback and revise their opinions The experts on real-time Delphi, they look at how their opinion is benchmarked with the feedbacks from other experts. And they are welcomed. They’re actually advised to change their opinions as often as they like instantly.
Whenever they look at whatever else and whatever opinions are provided by the experts. So the difference on Real-time Delphi is that the experts can change their opinion as frequently as they want, and on a real-time base whenever the experts are reporting on the web

By the end of this video, you will have a good understanding of the Delphi Methd.

What are the most interesting parts for you after your learning of the Delphi method? What is the difficult content for you to understand the Delphi method? Please don’t hesitate to share your answer about these questions in the comment area.

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