Tutorial: Collaborative Problem Solving via the Delphi Method

Duration:Half day

Presenter: Dr Murray Turoff, NJIT

Description and Objectives:

Delphi is the design of asynchronous communication structures based upon the nature of the group participating and the nature of the problem being addressed. Professor Turoff will present five designs to address specific problem types. They all have proven to be very useful and are commonly used for both academic and proprietary studies. Traditionally Delphi is used for complex problems that require contributors representing many different areas of expertise and/or areas of knowledge. The five designs are:

  1. Collaborative development of an evaluated list of items (e.g. goals, tasks, options, etc.) with exposed disagreements
  2. or with a high degree of evaluation uncertainty (e.g. problems, solutions)
  3. Collaboratively extrapolating the future of data variables (e.g. sales, enrollment, services, profit, etc.) with explicit assumptions
  4. The Policy Delphi via a Hegelian communication structure (policy resolutions and pro, con, neutral arguments)
  5. Collaborative Modeling of Dynamic Scenarios (possible events for a scenario and their relationships)

Professor Turoff will present each of the five different communication structures and their unique properties.  He will point out specific possible applications in Emergency Management.  The audience will be encouraged to ask questions at any point and they may email him before the meeting with issues they would like addressed and any specific applications they are interested in.  That will provide a chance for him to prepare specific material.  (murray.turoff@gmail.com).  For those not sure what Delphi is, check the introduction chapter for the Delphi Method Book (by Linstone and Turoff) free at:  http://is.njit.edu/turoff

The tutorial will include a discussion of many pragmatic issues such as: how to determine the nature of the contributing respondents and how many are needed; how to encourage respondents to participate; how Delphis are uniquely different than surveys and interviews, etc.  Delphi exercises can be done online or with paper and pencil.  Past examples of paper and pencil Delphis have used from ten to four hundred individuals.  With the evolution of better online structures, it could handle greater numbers.

Those that sign up for this tutorial ahead of the meeting will receive electronically from Professor Turoff the slides, some associated material, and papers before the meeting.

Participant equipment requirements: None