WS 02: When Groups Matter! Applying the Delphi Survey Method in Education Science

Workshop Information

The aim of this workshop is to familiarise emerging researchers and other interested participants with the Delphi method of research – a less well known and applied survey method in education sciences. Its objectives are:

  • To introduce the development, purpose and early implementations of the Delphi method
  • To familiarise workshop participants with the various ways of implementing this survey method in education science
  • To assist participants in the qualitative and quantitative evaluation of data generated using the Delphi survey method, as well demonstrate the presentation of data in survey ‘rounds’
  • To generate ideas and discussion among participants about how they might apply this method in their respective areas of research

The underlying philosophy of the Delphi approach is that group assessments of a given topic are more valid than individual assessments. The Delphi method is therefore applied when a group perspective is required. An iterative and reflective research approach, Delphi follows survey rounds in which respondents are asked not just to answer questions but are, in turn, encouraged to reconsider their answers in light of other respondents’ anonymous feedback. The aim of this approach can be to aggregate ideas, reach stability or convergence on open questions, or to attain consensus among expert respondents.

The method was initially developed at the beginning of the cold war to forecast future technological needs by the US military (Dalkey, 1969). Delphi has since been implemented in social policy and health care studies as a group facilitation method (e.g. Adler and Ziglio, 1996; Hasson et al., 2000). In education science, it has been applied in the field of vocational education to assist in research development (Brosi et al., 2003); in the area of teacher training, it has been used to determine the core educational topics that should be taught to prospective teachers (Kunina-Habenicht et al., 2012). The Delphi method has also been used in intercultural education in developing effective methods for the inclusion of and support for migrant and minority learners (Rösselet, 2012; Sprott, 2014).

The workshop facilitators have direct experience with both open and closed formats, and qualitative and quantitative analysis via a multistage Delphi study conducted among researchers of language education throughout Germany (Gogolin et al., 2017). The aim of this study was to determine the most pressing research questions – i.e. those considered most in need of attention – by the panel of expert researchers. Workshop participants will be guided through the stages of this Delphi study, the chosen formats, data analysis, and data interpretation. Participants will also be presented with datasets for individual and group activities. The purpose of this particular Delphi study was to assist in the development of the research field by aggregating open research questions. Nonetheless, it should be emphasised that such a study is relevant to all aspects of educational research (and not just language education) and we would encourage emerging researchers of varying backgrounds and different research interests to join this workshop.

We ask that participants provide us with a brief summary of their research interests & projects.

Please book here before 28 August.

Upcoming ECERs

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ECER'20, Glasgow
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The aim of the ‘European Conference on Educational Research’ is to create an inclusive platform for initiating, reporting, discussing and promoting high quality educational research ...
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