This guide provides step-by-step instructions on how to use the online software Delphi tool eDelphi (www.edelphi.org) for Delphi surveys.
Before starting to form a Delphi survey, it is necessary to conduct desktop research in order to understand what are the existing trends and uncertainties related to the political, economic, social and technological development in the region (e.g. using the PEST analysis template of 3.2. Scenario building application or collectively using 1.3. Debate at a glance application). The desktop research is needed to be able to form statements about future development that can be then assessed by the experts in the Delphi survey.
eDelphi is an open source software that can be used to develop and administer a Classic multi-phased Delphi or a Real-Time Delphi. The platform allows users to design, implement, document and report Delphi surveys, studies and discussions. The users are also able to create and customise panels and add surveys there. In eDelphi, the surveys are called queries. Then, users may invite expert participants to answer the panel surveys. After the survey results are aggregated, the group results may be shared back to the expert participants.
The eDelphi application is available in Finnish and English. Access the Finnish eDelphi instruction videos here. Unfortunately, the English videos are currently still under production (26.7.2017).
Using the main features of eDelphi is free of charge, however, additional features are available in the premium package. See the price packages here.
Setting up an account
- Go to the homepage of eDelphi: https://www.edelphi.org/.
- Login to the platform on the left side using a Google/Facebook/Twitter account (see Figure 1). Alternatively, it’s possible to register on the platform by filling in the necessary information.
Creating a new panel
1. After logging in to the platform, create a new panel by clicking on the left (see Figure 2). All created panels will be viewable and accessible from the “My Panels” section on the left.
2. Write required information about the panel on the new pop-up window. Enter the desired title for the panel in the top field and write a suitable description below that. (see Figure 3). After putting all the necessary information, click the “Finish” button.
3. Next, you are greeted with the new panel page (see Figure 4). On this page, you can add reading material, queries (i.e. surveys) and bulletins for the Delphi forecast. There are also tabs to manage and monitor your panel, and a tab dedicated to reporting issues with the eDelphi software.
4. Under the “DOCUMENTS” section you can add necessary files such as documents and images about the panel
5. Under the “BULLETINS” section you can add news about the panel and set up notifications.
Creating a query (survey)
1. To create a query in your panel, go to the panel page and click the paper file icon in the “QUERIES” section (see Figure 5).
2. Next, you will land on the “SETTINGS” tab under the “MANAGE QUERIES” page (see Figure 6). Here you can edit or fill in information about the survey and change the state of the query. Fill in the name of the query in the upper text field, and write necessary information regarding the query in the lower text field.
Make the query visible to participants by changing the query state to “Active”. If you want to add another survey, click the paper file icon in the “QUERIES” section on the left.
3. After all the necessary edits, click the “SAVE” button to save the query. All saved queries will appear under the “QUERIES” section.
4. Next, click the “PAGES” tab in your query. To add a question to your query, click the “Create page” link. In eDelphi, one page represents one question (see Figure 7).
5. In the new pop-up window, select the type of page you want to create. The description for each page type appears by hovering your mouse over the page type (see Figure 8).
6. The first page should be a Text page, which introduces the query. In the respective text fields, add a page title and include necessary texts or attachments such as images, videos and links. At the bottom, choose a suitable status for the question (see Figure 9). Always remember to save the query page!
7. Add as many questions as necessary and use the most suitable query types for each. There are 12 options for different query types. Below you find the description for the most common query forms.
- 1D-scale - This simple scale-question is one of the basic query types of Delphi-method. Panelists often find this query type motivating for its clarity, especially when the answers are seen on real time. In most cases, the probability of the phenomenon - usually the future thesis - is examined on a scale that is presented as a bar graph. At a glance, the panelist can see the arguments and the distribution of both his/her own and other panelists’ answers (see Figure 10 below as an example of this query type).
- 2D-scale - The two-variable scale question is probably the most used query type of Delphi method. It is particularly suitable for evaluating future theses. When the answers are real-time, then the answers are presented in a two-dimensional graph where each scale selection is placed in the matrix. The most frequently used evaluation criteria are the probability and desirability of the future thesis. In the context of scenario building, you may use this query type to evaluate the level of uncertainty and the level of importance related to earlier identified future uncertainties.
- Timeline -query type is one of the basic forms of future research. It estimates the time (a year) when any phenomenon occurs entirely or to a certain extent. In addition to a single year, it is possible to evaluate a time window, ie. two times, the first of which is the earliest possible date and the second is the last possible date. The timeline -query type is used in particular in technology evaluations.
- Time Series - The time series -query type is often an excellent choice when the phenomenon under observation has numerical historical information, i.e. statistics, that are presented in the query as an actual time series. Time series requires more defining than other query types, but often the trouble is rewarded in response. Time series -query type generates usually a lot of answers and arguments. Partly the reason is that such a question is perceived as neutral, so taking a position in the direction of another is subjectively easy.
- Grouping - The Grouping query type is suitable for classifying phenomena or their backgrounds. For example, a suitable function for Delphi is to evaluate the background factors of a research subject using an expert panel.
Inviting users to the panel
1. Go the “ADMINISTRATION” tab on the panel page.
2. On the bottom right, click the “Invite/Add Users” button (see Figure 11).
3. Type the email address of the person you want to invite, then click the email that is suggested (see Figure 12). Add all participants one by one. The “USERS TO BE INVITED” box should fill in with the participant email addresses.
4. Edit the invitation text according to your own needs in the “INVITATION” text box. The terms in [BRACKETS] will automatically adjust. Do NOT edit or delete [ACCEPT URL]. New participants are able to join the panel through only that link.
5. Determine where the acceptance link lands the participants. The default setting is the front page of the panel.
6. By checking the "Add Users Directly” box, participants will be able to join the panel without the invitation link.
7. When everything is set up, send the invitation.
8. After a brief moment, the email will reach the invited participants. The email then includes the invitation link to the panel section determined by the administrator.
Answering a query (survey)
1. Click the survey you want to answer to in the panel page (see Figure 13).
2. The first page of a survey is typically an introduction page that you can comment on (depending on the administrator settings). Click “NEXT” or “SKIP QUESTION” to proceed (see Figure 14).
3. Depending on the page type, the answering system may vary. However, it’s always possible to comment on the page. Thus, it’s possible to explain the answers, for example (see Figure 15).
4. Clicking “PREVIOUS” or “NEXT” always saves the progress of the answer.
5. It’s also possible to “SKIP QUESTIONS” and edit any replies or comments later on.
6. When all questions have been addressed, press the SAVE button and you will be redirected back to the panel page where you may answer other surveys.
1. There is in-depth information material about using eDelphi under the “HELP” section on the front page.
2. eDelphi is an open source platform and its development relies on user feedback. Send in any bugs or issues when using eDelphi here.