Quarterly scientific journal

The Delphi Technique in nursing research - Part 3: Data Analysis and Reporting

Dimitrios Kosmidis , Sotiria Koutsouki , Dimitrios Theofanidis

Abstract

The Delphi technique is a research method with a multitude of literature regarding its application, yet there is limited guidance on methods of analysis and the presentation of results. Aim: To describe and critically analyze the main methods of the qualitative and quantitative data analysis in studies using the Delphi Technique. Materials and methods: The literature search included research and review articles of nursing interest within the following databases: IATROTEK, Medline, Cinahl and Scopus, from 2001 to 2011. Key-words were used Delphi technique, nursing and research methodology, in English and Greek language. Results: The literature search revealed 285 articles of nursing interest (266 reserch articles and 19 reviews). Data analysis in formal methodology surveys using the Delphi technique initially involves a qualitative analysis of the experts' views which are gathered during the first round. Subsequently, various statistical analyses methods are employed in order to estimate the final level of consensus on the coming rounds (iterations). Prescribing the desired degree of consensus is usually based on subjective assumptions, while the final identification is done with mainly via descriptive and inductive statistical measures. In the presentation of results, simple tables are mainly used which are based on descriptive data, statistical criteria or scatter charts in order to illustrate the experts' opinions. Conclusions: The Delphi Technique has infiltrated nursing research with great variability in data analysis methodology and presentation of results depending on each study's aims and characteristics.

Keywords: Delphi technique, nursing research, research methodology, data analysis.

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