Data Collection Methods


The Delphi, also called Survey, technique is a slightly invasive data collection method, requiring direct input from the stakeholders. However, the results can be invaluable when developing a solution or process refinement. When using Delphi, the analyst develops a questionnaire to distribute to various stakeholders within an organization. The questionnaire can be directed and customized for various groups within the process. From the survey results the analyst will be able to extractquantitative data which is one of the most valuable tools to an analyst. The questions should be focused to only the project and framed in a fashion that allows the analyst to not only collect the data needed, but also convey a positive message to the end user.

The Delphi is only appropriate to investigate certain research problems, so careful consideration must be given to the nature of the problem before selecting this approach. Understanding the nature of the problem and the logistical considerations that arise from the topic need to be established before deciding upon its use. Attention must be given to other data collection methods, such asthe postal questionnaire or interview schedule.

Felicity Hasson, Sinead Keeney and Hugh McKenna (2000) Research guidelines for the Delphi survey technique, Journal of Advanced Nursing, 32(4), Page 2

Unfortunately Delphi does not allow for much flexibility. The miswording or omission of a question can quickly derail the analysis process. Once a survey has been distributed, there is little opportunity to revise the questionnaire so additional information or corrections can only be gained by distributing a second survey. However this does not outweigh the benefits. In addition to being only slightly invasive and quantifiable, Delphi has the added advantage of being anonymous if the analyst prefers. This allows for more candid responses from the stakeholders which can help the analyst learn the root cause of problems or issues.