Analysis of the Future

The Delphi Method

by Olaf Helmer-Hirschberg

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Abstract

A description of the Delphi Technique which attempts to make effective use of informed intuitive judgment in long-range forecasting. The Delphi method in its simplest form solicits the opinions of experts through a series of carefully designed questionnaires interspersed with information and opinion feedback. A convergence of opinion has been observed in the majority of cases where the Delphi approach has been used. In a few of the cases where no convergence toward a relatively narrow interval of values took place, opinions began to polarize around two distinct values; two schools of thought regarding a particular issue seemed to emerge. Refinements that have been made in the Delphi Technique consist of the introduction of weighted opinions and use of the technique in conjunction with a simulated decisionmaking process.

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