The latest CaHRU/LIH Improvement Science and Research Methods seminar was given on 24th January 2017 by Dr. Paul Leighton, Deputy Director at the NIHR Research Design Service for the East Midlands. Paul’s talk, entitled ‘The Delphi technique and other methods of consensus development in applied health settings’, focussed on useful tools for achieving consensus among experts.
Paul began the seminar with an overview of the background of consensus methods and gave examples of how such techniques have been used in the past. He then presented the three most commonly used approaches to reaching consensus: the Delphi technique, the nominal group technique, and the consensus conference. He explained the different techniques, discussed issues around using them and conducting consensus events, and finished by comparing the three methods.
Paul also offered guidance on when it is best to use each technique; this covered when it was appropriate to use a particular method, choosing the correct number and most suitable members/experts for panels, agreeing on the threshold for consensus, and the proper reporting standards. At the end of the seminar, Paul reminded everyone that the key enemy of consensus methods is always dropout rates!
The seminar was very well received and raised some very important issues around consensus methods. The next Improvement Science and Research Methods seminar will be presented by Viet-Hai Phung, researcher at CaHRU, on Tuesday 28th February 2017 on the topic of scoping reviews.
By Despina Laparidou