Decision-Making Methods

In this post, we will be looking at two different decision-making methods.

In this post, we will be looking at two different decision-making methods. Specifically, we will be comparing and contrasting the nominal group and Delphi techniques. We will look at what a nominal group technique is, along with examining what a Delphi technique consists of. We will then examine a few of the major similarities and differences between these two research techniques.

What are Decision-Making Methods?
Before we can examine the two different decision-making methods, we first need to understand what a decision-making method is. According to Fulop (2001), the decision-making process is one that is used to help identify and select alternatives based on input from leaders in the given field. The decision-making process consists of multiple steps that should be followed to achieve a useful outcome (Fulop, 2001).

Nominal Group Technique
In a nominal group technique, the individuals are seated around a table, and a standardized process is followed to solicit ideas (Van de Ven & Delbecq, 1974). First, Individuals quietly document their ideas on paper, followed by a verbal session for each individual to discuss their ideas (Van de Ven & Delbecq, 1974). After sharing their ideas, the group holds a discussion and asks clarifying questions about the various ideas presented, and at the end of the meeting, a silent vote is held to rank the ideas that were presented during the meeting (Van de Ven & Delbecq, 1974).

Delphi Technique
The Delphi technique is used to highlight the options and divergence of a panel of experts in a given field (Nworie, 2011). The fundamental principle of the Delphi technique is that the options of a panel of experts will be of a higher quality than those of a single individual (Nworie, 2011). Nworie (2011), has stated that the Delphi technique is used by leaders of organizations in forecasting decisions and to examine important and critical issues. The size of the panel selected to participate in a Delphi study can vary, but most researchers have agreed that the size should be between 10 and 50 participants (Nworie, 2011).

Compare and Contrast
One difference between the nominal group and Delphi techniques is that the nominal holds a face-to-face meeting, whereas the Delphi technique does not require an in-person meeting to make a decision (Van de Ven & Delbecq, 1974). Another important difference between these two decision-making techniques is that the Delphi technique encourages collaboration between panel members, whereas the nominal group method draws off of the individual’s ideas (Van de Ven & Delbecq, 1974). Both the nominal and Delphi techniques can be used by groups to effectively gather ideas to aid in the decision-making process.

In summary, the nominal and Delphi techniques take different approaches to gather information and making a decision based on that information (Van de Ven & Delbecq, 1974). Someone could argue that either of these techniques would be better to use than the other. I am of the belief that these different techniques exist because no one technique can be used to fit all situations. You will need to determine which technique best fits your needs.


Fulop, J. (2001). Introduction to decision making methods.  Retrieved from

Nworie, J. (2011). Using the delphi technique in educational technology research. TechTrends, 55(5), 24-30. doi:10.1007/s11528-011-0524-6

Van de Ven, A. H., & Delbecq, A. L. (1974). The Effectiveness of Nominal, Delphi, and Interacting Group Decision Making Processes. Academy of Management Journal, 17(4), 605-621. doi:10.2307/255641