Delivery Methodology of the Delphi: A Comparison of Two Approaches
Keywords:Delphi technique, electronic survey, web questionnaire, mail survey
AbstractThe Delphi technique has long been supported in the literature as a consensus-building, forecasting methodology for futures research. This methodology has been implemented in a wide variety of studies involving recreation and leisure topics. However, the method by which the Delphi has been administered to its sample has not been the focus of study. Computer technology has advanced by leaps and bounds over the past decade creating opportunities for researchers to gather data and conduct surveys via an electronic medium. Administering a Delphi study though an electronic medium provides an innovative approach to this methodology. Yet, use of this electronic method might create questions in the minds of researchers and administrators as to its effectiveness and implementation. This article provides a conceptual snapshot of implementing an electronic Delphi study by discussing the considerations necessary for using this type of data-collection method. A comparative analysis of two Delphi studies is provided: one implementing the traditional mail survey approach and the other utilizing the Internet and World Wide Web as its method of delivery. The research design phases of the two studies on which the comparison of methods focused were the planning, data collection, and post data-collection phases. The comparison revealed specific differences in terms of time, accessibility, response rates, format and cost. While some of the aspects of comparison discussed in the article could transfer to survey research in general, it is the purpose of this article to focus upon the Delphi methodology and its adaptation to an electronic venue.
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