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Consulting the oracle? Applications of modified Delphi technique to qualitative research in the hospitality industry

Abu Elnasr E. Sobaih (Faculty of Tourism and Hotel Management, Helwan University,Cairo, Egypt)
Caroline Ritchie (Cardiff School of Management, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff, UK)
Eleri Jones (Cardiff School of Management, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff, UK)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 17 August 2012

Abstract

Purpose

The Delphi technique is used to achieve consensus among experts and/or gain judgment on complex matters. This paper aims to discuss the classical Delphi and its advantages and disadvantages in qualitative research, particularly in hospitality.

Design/methodology/approach

The classical Delphi is characterized by the involvement of experts and its iterative nature. In an industry with high turnover and limited pools of specialist expertise this can lead to problems of attrition and management of the process. The paper presents two qualitative hospitality research case studies in which the classical Delphi is successfully modified to overcome its limitations.

Findings

Identifying potential problems early in the research process enables critical design decisions to be made. Case one used a parallel expert group with similar experience to develop a research instrument for a limited number of prestigious experts well‐acquainted with one another who might have reached specious consensus through channels not accessible to the researcher. Case two enabled the addition of new experts to an expert panel to overcome attrition in successive Delphi rounds.

Practical implications

Despite its growing popularity in social science, Delphi has rarely been used in qualitative hospitality research. The modifications suggested in this paper can enhance the robustness of the classical Delphi technique for qualitative hospitality research.

Originality/value

The paper shows how the classical Delphi technique can be successfully modified for use in qualitative hospitality research.

Keywords

Citation

Elnasr E. Sobaih, A., Ritchie, C. and Jones, E. (2012), "Consulting the oracle? Applications of modified Delphi technique to qualitative research in the hospitality industry", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 24 No. 6, pp. 886-906. https://doi.org/10.1108/09596111211247227

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited