An analysis of the utility of the Delphi method for determining group values. Delphi, a process for eliciting group opinion by a series of questionnaires with selective feedback of earlier responses, has traditionally been used for assessing expert opinion about factual questions. In the area of values, Delphi is more appropriate for exploring group [evaluation] (which involves rational criteria) than group value [judgment] (which depends on emotional response). Delphi can also be an instrument for (1) determining the values most relevant to the decision by focusing upon the reasons (and their relative weights) for making certain choices; (2) discovering areas of consensus within general value conflicts; (3) finding subgroups of variant opinion; and (4) resolving conflicts of interest by questioning noninvolved third parties. However, the utility of Delphi for ascertaining values is limited by the impossibility of checking the group value judgments against "the actual facts."
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