Knowledge Mapping Research

Critical Delphi

Critical Delphi is a scientific method for conducting critical discussions on social, ideological, philosophical and managerial issues in all areas of life.

Critical discussions among experts.
Critical Delphi is a qualitative research methodology aimed at facilitating critical discussions among experts in the relevant field. It is a critical implementation of the Delphi methodology, a well-known scientific research methodology used in social science research.

The Critical Delphi methodology is a scientific methodology that facilitates critical and reflective series of in-depth structured and moderated peer discussions among experts (the panel) on the various aspects of the discussed issue while confronting their own biases and misjudgments. If done properly, a Critical Delphi study allows researchers to motivate their interviewees and prompt them to consider and reconsider their initial answers, until they are able to commit themselves to their final positions.

Structure. A Critical Delphi study is usually composed of three successive rounds of structured questionnaires. The first round sets the agenda for the panel's discussions by presenting the discussed issues. The second and the third questionnaires are formulated based on analysis of the participants’ responses in previous rounds.

Anonymity. The cited responses of the panel will be anonymous in order to neutralize group pressures and biases while confronting peer debates and controversies. The names of the cited respondents will be revealed at the end of the study. The names of the panel members however, will be known to their peers. They will be listed by their names in an alphabetical order.

Objective. The study objective is to reach consensus among the participants or to clarify disagreements.

The panel selection is crucial for the success of the study. The panel members are experts who represent relevant aspects of the discussed isuues. The sizes of the panels may  vary depending on the complexities of the issues. The panels in my previous studies consisted of 15-57 panelists. 

A panel member is any invited person who answers the first relevant questionnaire (first round). Based on previous studies the return rates in the second and the third rounds are expected to be higher than 80% (Zins, 2007a).

Previous and current studies. Among my main Critical Delphi studies are: (1) Knowledge map of Judaism (Hebrew); (2) Basic social services (Hebrew); (3) Knowledge map of information sciences; and (4) Content selection in LIS education worldwide and (5) in Brazil.

Detailed information. Please contact for details of the studies and copies of the publications, as well as the theoretical and pactical aspects of the Critical Delphi research methodology.