Using the Delphi technique to support curriculum development

Document Type

Journal Article


Emerald Group Publishing Ltd


School of Business




Sitlington, H.B., Coetzer, A.J. (2015). Using the Delphi technique to support curriculum development in Education and Training, 57(3), 306-321. Available here.


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to present an analysis of the use of the Delphi technique to support curriculum development with a view to enhancing existing literature on use of the technique for renewal of business course curricula. Design/methodology/approach – The authors outline the Delphi process for obtaining consensus amongst a diverse expert group, provide an overview of the results of the study to demonstrate its value and present an analysis of participants’ reflections on the Delphi process experience. Drawing on participants’ reflections and the experience of using the technique the authors present a “good practice guide” for others seeking to apply the technique and discuss implications for practice and research. Findings – Analysis of participants’ feedback identified strengths and limitations of the process. Participants perceived that the process was efficient and fostered reflection on their own practice. The technique’s capacity to draw out varied views due to absence of dominant voices was highlighted. Limitations were perceived to be restrictiveness of the process and potential inability to address varying understandings. Participant feedback suggests the process may provide a fragmented approach to curriculum design. Research limitations/implications – The findings suggest avenues for future research, including examining how the Delphi technique can be incorporated into a holistic set of curriculum design field studies that are linked and ultimately lead to a well-designed curriculum. Originality/value – Current literature on the Delphi technique does not provide participants’ perspectives on the process nor researcher reflections on use of the technique. The authors address this gap and generate good practice guidelines for using the Delphi technique as a tool for curriculum renewal.



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