Modified Delphi

Forecasting and Change Identification Instrument

Welcome to the Modified Delphi Forecasting Tool. This was developed as a forecasting and change monitoring instrument for government organisations and other public bodies, notably the National Archive, the British Library and DEFRA (in preparing for the transfer of functions to Natural England).

The good news is that it is freely available to anyone who wants to look into the future of libraries, public and private sector organisations or associated research projects. This instrument can be used by organisations, change management professionals or research project managers who want to find out how thought leaders in any field view their future and how these views shift over time.

Development of the online version of the Instrument was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and was tested and developed by participants in its Global Libraries initiative.


What is the Modified Delphi Forecasting & Perception Change Instrument?

This Instrument shifts the focus from the traditional Delphi concern with creating (often forced) consensus towards capturing the full range of views on an issue.

You can use this instrument to:

  • Bring together the views of experts to build a consensus view on the future.
  • Systematically collect the views of people who look at particular issues differently from the majority and find out why.
  • See how people’s views change over time – are they becoming more positive and proactive or more disillusioned and defensive?

Through analysis of the survey data you can readily:

  • Focus reporting on any mismatches between perceived likelihood and desirability of specific scenarios
  • Determine what is likely to happen or not happen on the basis that if a proposition is seen as both likely and desirable, it will probably happen, and that if the proposition is both unlikely and undesirable it probably won’t happen.
  • Ensure that attention and potential future action focuses on addressing the implications of propositions deemed ‘likely but undesirable’ and ‘unlikely but desirable’.


Using the instrument

Survey Managers can make free use of the Instrument under Open Source Licensing arrangements and ownership of the survey data remains with the Survey Managers and their Respondents.

To use the instrument to generate forecasting and evaluation surveys, the first step is to Register as a Survey Manager so that you can have access to a survey manager account that allows you as manager to set up and manage multiple surveys.

Below we outline how to register as a Survey Manager, the process of making use of the instrument and also an explanation of how to access further consultancy help, if required.


The Modified Delphi Process

This online version of the Modified Delphi Instrument enables Survey Managers to set up and manage Modified Delphi Forecasting surveys within the site and then to download the response data as standard files for use in spreadsheet, database and charting applications.

The instrument can be used once to obtain a consensus view of likely change. It can can also be used more frequently as an attitude measurement tool to see whether views are changing over time and whether individual respondents are changing their perceptions.

When measuring attitudes, participants rate their responses to a series of propositions in terms of their Likelihood and Desirability. In Round 1, the system detects those responses that are significantly different from the majority view (for any proposition and for either of the ‘likelihood’ and ‘desirability’ scales) and asks these Respondents to comment further.

If you are interested in measuring changes to individual perceptions, Round 2 will compare responses to the individual’s Round 1 answers and this time ask for comments on any significant changes.

In use as an evaluation tool, the instrument provides a means of identifying changes in Respondent perceptions and attitudes without drawing attention to this aspect of a change programme evaluation. The surveys focus on forecasting change rather than the current changes that Respondents may have experienced as change programme participants. This should reduce any tendency for Respondents to shape their replies in order to support (or undermine) the programme being evaluated.


How to Register to make use of the Modified Delphi instrument

The Modified Delphi Survey Instrument is made freely available. To use the tool as a Survey Manager please complete our Registration Form. Your Registration only requires that you supply us with a First and Last Name and an email address so that we can set you up with an account and email you a temporary password for your initial login.

  • The welcome email with your temporary password will also provide you with link to the Survey Manager login page. You will continue to be able to access the Survey Instrument from the link here as well. Please do not forget to change your password once you have logged and to keep it secure.
  • Access to all your user data will remain under your password protection. The associated intellectual property rights for your data will rest with you and your survey respondents. The Survey Software will be available under Open Source licence on public access GitHub repositories.
  • To enable widest possible access, the website Survey Manager pages and the survey pages have all been designed for modern web standards and will be usable on Mac and Windows Computers and on standard Apple and Android tablets and smart phones.


How to use the Modified Delphi instrument:

There are only five sections required to set up and manage surveys:

  • Respondent Management: Set up your pool of survey respondents
  • Survey Management: Set up and run your surveys and download data
  • Survey Propositions: Set and group your survey propositions
  • Survey Range Descriptions: Set and manage the survey Likert scales
  • Email Template Management: Set templates for Survey Rounds and Reminders

The first two are key for managing the pool of respondents and running your set of surveys. The last three are for managing the details of each of the surveys: their propositions, their Likert range scales and the invitation email templates.

The layout of your administration area has a menu for these five sections and a set of screens for each. We have focused on making navigation within each section simple, consistent and as intuitive as possible to use.

Once you have Registered as a Survey Manager and have access to the Survey Instrument you can make use of our guidance pages. We appreciate that some users may wish to access further support on a consultancy basis and the final section provides guidance on this.


How to seek further help with the Modified Delphi instrument:

If you would like help in conducting a Modified Delphi Survey, Information Management Associates (IMA) has significant experience in using the Modified Delphi approach as part of impact evaluation of programmes and in support of change management projects and and feasibiuity studies and can offer tailored consultancy at sector appropriate rates.

IMA can help with:

  • Identification of a relevant set of experts to engage with a research project in order to yield a worthwhile set of responses
  • Framing and phrasing of proposition sets to yield meaningful results for both qualitative and some quantitive analysis purposes
  • Data analysis and charting to yield useful results from survey data sets.

Please use the IMA Feedback Form to request consultancy support for a Survey project using the Modified Delphi Instrument.