A Delphi study is a statistical technique occasionally used by library science researchers to approximate a consensus on a topic with many possible interpretations. Delphi studies involve sending multiple survey questionnaires to a pre-selected group of "experts" and allowing the respondents to comment on the results between each survey. The respondents eventually reach a point of agreement when few revisions are suggested.
Library educator Ronald Powell notes that Delphi studies are useful for librarians researching a policy statement, such as a collection development policy. Because of the emphasis on consensus and the fact that participants are separated temporally as well as spatially, "this methodology is also useful when the participants are hostile toward one another, argumentative, or unable to meet easily in person" (Powell and Connaway 2004).
Hernon, Powell and Young (2003) used three rounds of Delphi studies of ARL, ACRL and public library directors to formulate a list of 208 attributes considered important in a library director.
Sanjeet-Singh E. Mann
Hernon, P., Powell, R. R. & Young, A. (2003). The next library leadership: Attributes of academic and public library directors. Westport: Libraries Unlimited.
Powell, R. R., and Connaway, L. (2004). Basic research methods for librarians (4th ed.). Westport: Libraries Unlimited.