Application of Delphi Method in the Behavioral Sciences and Medical Research: A Review of Advantages, Limitations and Methodology

Document Type : Original Article



Delphi is a method of forecasting, decision-making, and providing specialized knowledge by consensus of experts. Although this method was introduced primarily based on the conjecture and judgment of experts to investigate the viewpoints of military experts scientifically, it entered gradually into the scientific methodology field as a result of compliance with the scientific rules. In Delphi method, experts try to reach a consensus in a particular domain or solving a special issue, relying on intuitive opinions and using questionnaires, giving continual feedback, and maintaining the anonymity principle. At first glance, this methodology seems to be just a subjective judgment of some experts. However, it is more valid in comparison with personal statements and provides more objective and practical results. Additionally, this method is usable in forecasting the future issues, reaching consensus, developing creative ideas and prediction of long-term strategic decisions in a variety of areas like medical, social, behavioral, management, and economic sciences. In current research, the historical roots, the process of evolution, advantages, limitations, and the methodology of this scientific method have been reviewed.


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