The Delphi method: methodological issues arising from a study examining factors influencing the publication or non-publication of mental health nursing research

Publication Date13 June 2016
DOIhttps://doi.org/10.1108/MHRJ-07-2015-0020
Pages85-94
AuthorTracy Flanagan,Russell Ashmore,David Banks,Doug MacInnes
SubjectHealth & social care,Mental health
The Delphi method: methodological
issues arising from a study examining
factors influencing the publication or
non-publication of mental health
nursing research
Tracy Flanagan, Russell Ashmore, David Banks and Doug MacInnes
Tracy Flanagan is based at the
Humber Mental Health NHS
Teaching Trust, Hull, UK.
Russell Ashmore is a Senior
Lecturer (Mental Health
Nursing) at the Department of
Nursing and Midwifery,
Sheffield Hallam University,
Sheffield, UK.
David Banks is based at the
Department of Nursing,
Queen Margaret University,
Edinburgh, UK.
Doug MacInnes is based at the
School of Nursing, Canterbury
Christ Church University,
Canterbury, UK.
Abstract
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to describe how the classic Delphi method can be adapted and
structured to ensure that specific research questions are clearly addressed.
Design/methodology/approach As part of a larger mixed method project, a modified Delphi study was
undertaken to explore factors influencing publication and non-publication of mental health nursing research.
Findings This paper reports brief findings from the Delphi study. However, its main focus is the
methodological issues arising from the Delphi method.
Research limitations/implications The paper argues that the classic Delphi method can be adapted and
structured to ensure that specific research questions are able to be clearly answered. The adaptations are
pragmatic in approach and in keeping with the general principles underpinning the Delphi method, while
successfully addressing the problems of attrition and previous criticism of homogenous panels.
Originality/value This paper offers some practical solutions to issue arising from undertaking research
using the Delphi method.
Keywords Research, Barriers to publication, Mental health nursing, Modified Delphi method
Paper type Research paper
Introduction
This paper will discuss the Delphi methods employed in a study examining the reasons for mental
health nursing research subsequently being published or not published. The paper describes
how the classic Delphi method can be adapted and structured to ensure that specific research
questions are clearly addressed. The adaptations described in this paper can be viewed as
pragmatic in approach and in keeping with the general principles underpinning the Delphi
method, while successfully addressing some of the problems commonly encountered when
using this method. The principles of the classic Delphi method and how they were adapted to
meet the needs of one research study will be discussed in this paper.
Background
Only a small proportion of research carried out by nurses, the largest health professional group
within the field of mental health, is accessible through nursing publications (Hicks, 1993, 1995).
Received 10 July 2015
Revised 19 November 2015
Accepted 25 January 2016
DOI 10.1108/MHRJ-07-2015-0020 VOL. 21 NO. 2 2016, pp. 85-94, © Emerald Group Publishing Limited, ISSN 1361-9322
j
MENTALHEALTH REVIEW JOURNAL
j
PAG E 85

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