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The outstanding work of the CME group conducting qualitative research has helped us determine physician perspectives on the appropriate use of medications.  This is leading us to generate new hypotheses that will improve patient health.

Paul Muntner, Professor and Vice Chair
Department of Epidemiology
University of Alabama at Birmingham - Birmingham, AL

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The Division of CME offers nominal group technique services, Delphi, and focus group methods both onsite and online, to conduct needs assessment, identify barriers to task performance, and evaluate decision making, among other applications.  Click to review some examples of recent projects.

Nominal Group Technique

The Nominal Group Technique is a structured process that helps a group reach consensus about the relative importance and/or priority of important issues or ideas using a weighted ranking process. The technique can be adapted to a range of situations and research questions where qualitative data must be gathered, and also provides an opportunity to quantify the relative importance of those data to a specific group through aggregated  prioritization of votes.

Nominal groups are most applicable to a single question or two related questions. Our web-based solution also allows us to schedule sessions that are more convenient for busy health professionals to attend, and this can alleviate timeline and logistics issues for projects.

If you have a project for which you believe nominal groups can be of service please contact us.

We can also provide focus group and Delphi method services when applicable.

Below is a sample of criteria that can help distinguish these services. These don't represent hard-and-fast rules or mutually exclusive requirement sets, but can be used as a guide to determining the service you need.  You can also access additional study design and qualitative data development services available through UAB's Center for AIDS Research behavioral and community sciences core.

Nominal Group Delphi Method Focus Group
Single-topic question(s) focused on needs assessment or gap analysis Useful for involving experts, users, and\or resource controllers who can’t come together physically Examine attitudes or opinions, and why they are held
Expert opinion on the importance of barriers Need to maintain anonymity Identify the strengths and weaknesses of programs
Identification of priority problems, root causes, solutions, or issues Aggregate judgments in situations where people may be somewhat hostile to one another Interpret results of projects
Inform survey design Useful where there is the potential for one or two individuals to exert undue influence on a decision process Investigate complex behavior
Add descriptive detail to survey results   Identify changes in behavior
Dealing with controversial topics   Inform decision-making, strategic planning, and resource allocation
Create buy-in to a specific project initiative from participants   Inform survey design
A need to create tension that facilitates change   Add a human dimension to impersonal data
Situations where feedback on results from participants is warranted\desired   Deepen understanding and explain statistical data
Elucidation of specific roles of different stakeholder groups at different phases of a process