Using the Delphi Technique to Explore Complex Concepts in Speech-Language Pathology: An Illustrative Example From Children's Social Communication Purpose In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in expanding the research approaches that speech-language pathologists utilize, particularly for addressing complex questions. Consensus-building techniques can be useful for addressing such questions. The Delphi technique is a consensus-building process involving structured communication among members of an expert panel via ... Research Note
Research Note  |   November 08, 2017
Using the Delphi Technique to Explore Complex Concepts in Speech-Language Pathology: An Illustrative Example From Children's Social Communication
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Kristen Izaryk
    Western University, London, Ontario, Canada
  • Elizabeth Skarakis-Doyle
    Western University, London, Ontario, Canada
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Kristen Izaryk, who is now at the Brooks Rehabilitation College of Healthcare Sciences, Jacksonville University, FL: kizaryk@ju.edu
  • Editor: Krista Wilkinson
    Editor: Krista Wilkinson×
  • Associate Editor: Laura DeThorne
    Associate Editor: Laura DeThorne×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Language Disorders / Social Communication & Pragmatics Disorders / Research Notes
Research Note   |   November 08, 2017
Using the Delphi Technique to Explore Complex Concepts in Speech-Language Pathology: An Illustrative Example From Children's Social Communication
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, November 2017, Vol. 26, 1225-1235. doi:10.1044/2017_AJSLP-16-0046
History: Received March 30, 2016 , Revised January 31, 2017 , Accepted May 2, 2017
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, November 2017, Vol. 26, 1225-1235. doi:10.1044/2017_AJSLP-16-0046
History: Received March 30, 2016; Revised January 31, 2017; Accepted May 2, 2017

Purpose In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in expanding the research approaches that speech-language pathologists utilize, particularly for addressing complex questions. Consensus-building techniques can be useful for addressing such questions. The Delphi technique is a consensus-building process involving structured communication among members of an expert panel via independent responses to iterative rounds of questionnaires. The purpose of this research note is to describe and demonstrate the Delphi technique using an application to a complex problem in speech-language pathology, that is, the bases of social communication and pragmatics.

Method The Delphi technique was described and illustrated via the following study: 10 expert speech-language pathologists participated in a 3-round Delphi study. Participants were asked to list the key features of social communication and pragmatics in Round 1. Questions for Rounds 2 and 3 were developed on the basis of the participants' responses to previous rounds.

Results The Delphi technique was useful in bringing participants to consensus on the key features of social communication and pragmatics and offered a starting point for the continued exploration of this complex problem.

Conclusion A discussion of the benefits and limitations of the technique is included, highlighting the utility of the technique to the field of speech-language pathology.

Acknowledgments
The authors would like to acknowledge the expert panel participants for their time and thoughtful contributions to this study. The authors also acknowledge Wenonah Campbell, Marilyn Kertoy, and Doreen Bartlett for their participation in and contributions to discussions pertaining to this work.
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