Delphi consensus procedure

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

The aim of a Delphi consensus procedure, named after the ancient Delphic oracle, is to determine the extent to which people agree about a given issue or to develop consensus. (1;2) This anonymous process can be organized by inviting experts to discuss on the matter or relevant individuals to rate their agreement on opinions e.g. statements, on a scale e.g. from 1 (total disagreement) to 9 (total agreement), and to give comments. These statements can be formulated by the participants themselves in the first round or be provided by the research team. After each round, the ratings and comments are used by the research team to accept a statement or to adjust or reject the statements. In the next rounds the ratings and comments need to be summarized an incorporated in a new version which will be send back to the participants asking them for rerating and comments. The rounds will be repeated until consensus is reached or seems impossible.

This consensus procedure has been used by the Maastricht-Antwerp research group and by the Brest research group looking for consensus on gut feelings. (3-5)

(1) Jones J, Hunter D. Consensus methods for medical and health services research. BMJ 1995 Aug 5;311(7001):376-80.

(2) Hasson F, Keeney S, McKenna H. Research guidelines for the Delphi survey technique. J Adv Nurs 2000 Oct;32(4):1008-15.

(3) Stolper CF, Van Royen P, Van Bokhoven MA, Houben PHH, Van de Wiel M, Van der Weijden T, et al. Consensus on gut feelings in general practice. BMC Family Practice 2009, 10:66 2009.

(4) Coppens M, Barraine P, Barais M, Nabbe P, Berkhout C, Stolper CF, et al. L’intuition en mĂ©decine gĂ©nĂ©rale: validation francaise du consensus nĂ©erlandais ‘gut feelings’. Exercer 2011;22(95):16-20.

(5) Le Reste JY, Coppens M, Barais M, Nabbe P, Le FB, Chiron B, et al. The transculturality of ‘gut feelings’. Results from a French Delphi consensus survey. Eur J Gen Pract 2013 Apr 16.