Nominal group technique

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The Nominal group technique is a method of consensus building.[1]


One summary of the method is below.[1]

  • "Participants spend several minutes writing down their views about the topic in question"
  • "Each participant, in turn, contributes one idea to the facilitator, who records it on a flip chart"
  • "Similar suggestions are grouped together, where appropriate. There is a group discussion to clarify and evaluate each idea"
  • "Each participant privately ranks each idea (round 1)"
  • "The ranking is tabulated and presented"
  • "The overall ranking is discussed and reranked (round 2)"
  • "The final rankings are tabulated and the results fed back to participants"

The difference between NGT and the original Delphi method are that the Delphi uses mailed questionnaires in place of face-to-face meetings.[2] However, the Delphi technique as modified by the Rand Corporation is a hybrid that combines both mailed questionnaires for the first round and face-to-face meetings for subsequent rounds.[2]


Delphi vs. Nominal Group Technique

One comparison found consensus was closer in the NGT than in the Delphi method; no overall difference between groups in their concordance with research evidence; but the Delphi method was more reliable. [3] In this study, the NGT had group meetings whereas the Delphi was done entirely independently.

A systematic review found that both methods can improve group processes.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Jones J, Hunter D (1995). "Consensus methods for medical and health services research". BMJ 311 (7001): 376–80. PMID 7640549. [e]
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Fretheim A, Schünemann HJ, Oxman AD (2006). "Improving the use of research evidence in guideline development: 5. Group processes". Health Res Policy Syst 4: 17. DOI:10.1186/1478-4505-4-17. PMID 17140442. Research Blogging. PubMed Central
  3. Hutchings A, Raine R, Sanderson C, Black N (2006). "A comparison of formal consensus methods used for developing clinical guidelines". Journal of health services research & policy 11 (4): 218–24. DOI:10.1258/135581906778476553. PMID 17018195. Research Blogging.

See also