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FAQ

From the oracle to the scientific method

2. November 2021
Redaktion SIBE

The word ‘Delphi’ immediately generates an image in many people’s minds of the famous oracle from Greece – associated with the idea of predictions of the future. But the term is also well established among researchers. In the so-called Delphi method, theses, often also projections about the future, are evaluated and discussed by a panel of experts, for example with regard to the probability of occurrence or desirability of occurrence.

It is applied in a wide range of disciplines and practical areas, from medicine, disaster and risk management, education, political science and sustainability research to classical business administration or business informatics. The method comprises a structured discussion of the respective object of investigation by a designated expert panel over several rounds. Here, the participants provide quantitative assessments and justify them with valid arguments. The collective expert knowledge can then be used, for example, for weighty decisions and scenario analyses. While in its early days the Delphi method was still a handwritten correspondence between researchers and experts (paper-pencil surveys), in the last 10 years a digital variant as so-called real-time Delphi has been used more and more frequently.

In their latest scientific article, SIBE Professor Dr. Heiko von der Gracht and his co-authors Daniel Beiderbeck, Nicolas Frevel, Prof. Dr. Sascha L. Schmidt and Vera M. Schweitzer from WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management show how such a real-time Delphi study is conducted. In doing so, they impressively illustrate a cross-disciplinary set of methods of previous survey variants. The authors describe success factors for the proven implementation of a Delphi study as well as the integration of original and new methodological approaches from different disciplines. In addition to the analysis of expert evaluations per se, the focus has recently shifted to the personality profiles of the participants, for example. By means of supplementary cross-impact analyses, individual Delphi theses and results can be placed in a common systemic context and interactions can be taken into account. In addition, three-dimensional representations of scenario clusters provide an enhanced understanding of collected data.

Gain extensive insights into the design and implementation of Delphi expert surveys, as well as their success factors from a wide range of disciplines. Read now the new scientific article by Prof. Dr. Heiko von der Gracht (Open Access): “Preparing, conducting, and analyzing Delphi surveys: Cross-disciplinary practices, new directions, and advancements“.

Are you interested in how the Delphi method is used at SIBE? Find out now and take a look at SIBE’s latest Delphi-based publication: “The Future of the European Generics and Biosimilars Industry 2030plus“.

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