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Izvestia Journal of the Union of Scientists - Varna. Medicine and Ecology Series

Defining and developing Delphi techniques in integrative public health research

Desislava Vankova


Introduction: Integrative scientific approaches to public health are an indivisible part of the global movement in science to remove artificial boundaries between the different scientific fields. As a result, the idea of integrative medicine as a new transdisciplinary scientific and applied platform is gaining popularity. These processes include the modern combination of quantitative and qualitative methods in science, called mix-methods approaches.

Aim: The aim of this report is to present the qualitative Delphi method with its historical development, different types, research experience, and future application.

Materials and Methods: A documentary method was used by reviewing the available scientific literature. In the context of the research experience, the results of two own studies using Delphi techniques to reach consensus are presented in brief.

The Delphi method was created in the middle of the XX century by the Rand Corporation. It is an effective qualitative method for achieving understanding and consensus, if possible, in the name of the development of a given area, concept, business. Delphi has the freedom for change according to the scope of the specific study. Three of the Delphi types are presented: Classical or Conventional Delphi, Policy Delphi, and Real-Time Delphi.

Results from own Delphi studies: Two studies are synthesized: 1) In 2013, a Policy Delphi study was applied in the second phase of a representative mix-methods research of health-related quality of life at the community level (the residents of Burgas, Bulgaria); 2) In 2019, a Classical Delphi survey was conducted (online mode) with experts in higher education, sports, and choreography on the place and role of the Bulgarian folk dances as an elective discipline and alternative to sports in the academic curriculum.

Conclusion: Delphi is a qualitative method with a future, due to its adaptability and applicability in cases of impossible, cost-ineffective or undesirable personal contact. The integration of Delphi into larger mixed-methods studies allows both for a comprehensive coverage and an understanding of a research topic, and for the dissemination of scientific information among professionals and policy-makers.


qualitative methods, integrative science, integrative medicine, public health, Delphi technique

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