Project title: "The Delphi method: Methodological issues and its application to the development of rankings".
The Delphi method is a structured data-collection process aimed at acquiring a certain level of agreement among experts on a given topic. A Delphi study consists of at least two rounds in which experts are independently questioned about their opinion by means of a standardized questionnaire. To avoid undue influence of dominant experts and group pressure, experts are anonymous and are not allowed to communicate with each other. Instead, the researcher provides controlled opinion feedback to the experts in the form of a summary of the results from the previous round. Based on this feedback, experts may revise their opinion in the next round. A Delphi study usually ends when a desired level of agreement has been achieved or when a certain stability in experts’ responses has been reached
The Delphi method seems to provide opportunities for developing rankings. However, research into its application to the development of rankings seems to be non-existent. Furthermore, the Delphi method has several unresolved methodological issues (concerning among others: the measurement of agreement and the effect of controlled opinion feedback on Delphi results). Therefore, this PhD project aims to improve the methodology of the Delphi method and to investigate its application to the development of rankings (among others: European green city rankings).