In the 1950s, Norman Dalkey and Olaf Helmer developed the Delphi technique at the Rand Corporation as a way to forecast technological trends. The technique, named after the ancient oracle of divination, has evolved as a way to generate ideas and facilitate agreement among experts in a particular field through a series of questionnaires or surveys in which they anonymously and iteratively express opinions based on emerging agreement and consensus. Delphi methods can include qualitative (open-ended questions) and quantitative components (Likert-type survey items) and have been used in educational research, business, and health care, and are increasingly being utilized in counseling, psychotherapy, and psychology research. This entry explores the basic principles and procedures of the Delphi technique and examines other applications and limitations.
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