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Welphi is an online survey platform that implements the Delphi method. This platform allows you to create questionnaires for acquiring opinion of several participants, geographically disperse and/or with a busy agenda, in an easy and affordable way.

Through a system of rounds, it is possible, in an anonymous way, to confront each participant with the opinions of his peers, engaging participants in a non-face-to-face format and promoting consensus among the group on issues that lack the support of quantitative data.

Thus, the Welphi is positioned between a face-to-face meeting – where the confrontation of ideas is possible but the physical presence of all participants is required– and a simple online questionnaire – where the opinion of participants is requested but not shared with others and no opportunity is given to each participant to revise his option in light of the opinion of his peers.

Therefore, Welphi permits to confront ideas in an asynchronous, online, participatory and iterative way. Moreover, by permitting to anonymously share the participants’ comments, each participant can change his initial position, thus promoting group consensus.

The Welphi platform was developed to facilitate the process of:

To start each round, the platform automatically sends an invitation e-mail to each participant, with all the information required for accessing the online questionnaire.

During each round, the Welphi also sends automatic reminders to those participants who have not completed the questionnaire, thus reducing the drop-out rate of the process.

One of the main advantages of using Welphi is the production of automatic statistics for result analysis. Welphi also allows establishing rules for approval and rejection, permitting, on one hand, to elect consensual elements and, on the other, to decide which elements should be included in a new round.

In the end, data can be exported for Excel files for subsequent analysis.

The Delphi method

Delphi is a ‘method for structuring a group communication process so that the process is effective in allowing a group of individuals, as a whole, to deal with a complex problem’ (p.3, [1]) and is based on the assumption that group opinion is more valid and reliable that individual opinion [2].

There are four key features that characterize the Delphi process:

  • 1 | Ensures anonymity avoiding social pressure;
  • 2 | Provides controlled feedback and statistical summary of answers, enaging participants in a non-face-to-face format;
  • 3 | Each participant can respond in its own pace;
  • 4 | Friendly and attractive interface.
  • By not making mandatory the physical presence of the members of the group, Delphi avoids social pressure (as it is an anonymous process) and it allows for a more efficient use of resources, such as time and money. This is valid for all group sizes, but is especially relevant considering large groups and/or geographically dispersed participants.

    Delphi was developed at the RAND Corporation in the 1950s to forecast the impact of technology on warfare. Since its development, and given its underlying flexibility, the Delphi method has undergone different modifications and today there are several types of Delphi methods. This ability to adapt to different real world problems makes it possible to find examples of Delphi processes on [3]: risk management, investment analysis, planning health services, policy and trend analysis and policy formulation.

    Sources:

  • [1] Linstone, H.A. and M. Turoff, The Delphi method: Techniques and applications. 2002, Reading: Addison-Wesley.
  • [2] Keeney, S., F. Hasson, and H. McKenna, The Delphi technique in nursing and health research. 2011, Chichester: Wiley Blackwell.
  • [3] Gupta, U.G. and R.E. Clarke, Theory and applications of the Delphi technique: A bibliography (1975–1994). Technological forecasting and social change, 1996. 53(2): 185-211.
  • [4] Warner, L.A., Using the Delphi Technique to Achieve Consensus: A Tool for Guiding Extension Programs. 2014, Agricultural Education and Communication Department, UF/IFAS Extension.