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The Delphi method is a structured communication technique and a systematic, interactive futures research method which relies on a panel of experts. The experts answer questionnaires in 1-4 rounds. After (or during in case of roundless Delphi) each round, a Delphi manager (facilitaror) provides an anonymised summary of the experts' forecasts from the previous round as well as the reasons they provided for their judgments. Thus, experts are encouraged to revise their earlier answers in light of the replies of other members of their panel. Finally, the process is stopped after a predefined stop criterion (e.g. number of rounds, achievement of consensus, stability of results) determine the results.
Delphi is based on the principle that forecasts (or decisions) from a structured group of individuals are more accurate than those from unstructured groups. eDelphi supports different kinds of Delphi processes including argumentative, concencus- and roundless method variations. The minimum duration of the eDelphi license is three (3) months. It is possible to upgrade the license during the contract period. All the licenses include unlimited amount of panelists and questions (queries). Plus Edu -service includes the Delphi education (in finnish), and Premium Org-service includes method consultation for organizational use in addition to the education.
eDelphi has been developed during 20 years together with Finnish future research institutions including University of Turku Futures Research Centre and Society for Futures Research. It has been used in many big projects and doctoral dissertations both in Finland and abroad. We also update it continuously according to the wishes of the users. However, from early on we decided that we cannot compete with tools offered for quantitative survey use. Therefore we focused on developing a tool for argumentative delphi-research that has more qualitative nature, but also quantitative elements with different question types depending on if we are identifying mega trends, drivers, trends or signals for the future. When identifying these elements of future, our tool offers delphi-panelists an opportunity to argue and explain their view on the future and comment on other panelists views in a discursive process in real time.
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