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Nominal Group Technique

Nominal Group Technique (NGT) is a structured group discussion used to reach consensus, problem-solve, or generate ideas. Depending upon the topic, NGT may be preceded by a brief presentation of the issue. Information is gathered by inviting each member of the group to express their ideas or suggestions on the particular issue. Participants are then asked to vote on or prioritize the ideas and suggestions of all group members. The voting process may occur multiple times. The purpose is to provide structure to a group discussion when the group is facing the challenge of reaching agreement on complex topics.

far fa-dollar-sign fa-sm Budget (e.g. personnel, space, equipment) Low Medium High far fa-user-clock Time per interaction I expect to engage stakeholders for... An hour or less Half a day A full day far fa-calendar-check Number of interactions I expect to interact with stakeholders... 1-2 times Appx. 5 times 10+ times Engagement Purposes far fa-scrubber Identify and explore new perspectives or understanding far fa-scrubber Identify which topics are most important to stakeholders far fa-scrubber Develop research questions relevant to stakeholders far fa-scrubber Select outcomes and measures that matter to stakeholders far fa-scrubber Expand and diversify stakeholder outreach far fa-scrubber Investigate best ways to successfully implement a study, based on stakeholder insights far fa-scrubber Disseminate findings to relevant audiences far fa-clock Time Frame

1-3 hours/session (multiple sessions are common)

fal fa-tasks-alt Workload LIGHT MEDIUM HEAVY
Appropriate Applications More useful for: far fa-scrubber Creative problem solving far fa-scrubber Gathering diverse opinions far fa-scrubber Generating priorities far fa-scrubber Reducing hierarchical power structures far fa-scrubber Generating ideas far fa-scrubber Consensus building Less useful for: far fa-scrubber Tracking multiple issues far fa-scrubber Discussing multiple topics at once far fa-scrubber Complex scientific issues that require >30 minutes to explain far fa-scrubber Emotional or divisive issues, especially if misunderstandings are common Key Characteristics Resources Needed fas fa-money-bill-waveMoney far fa-scrubber Monetary compensation and/or food or refreshments for participants fas fa-paperclipMaterials and Resources far fa-scrubber Meeting room with space to accommodate 5 to 9 participants far fa-scrubber Flip chart(s) far fa-scrubber Markers far fa-scrubber Masking tape far fa-scrubber Index cards for each participant far fa-scrubber Pencils for each participant fas fa-usersPersonnel far fa-scrubber Moderator(s) far fa-scrubber Note taker(s) far fa-scrubber (Moderator and note taker could be the same person) How To Presentation of topic and question: The moderator presents the issue to the group along with the question the group will be addressing. This presentation might include background information or data and can include handouts for the participants. (~30 minutes ) Idea generation: The moderator directs everyone to silently and independently write ideas that answer the question posed on the index cards using brief phrases or a few words (~10 minutes) Recording ideas: Participants engage in a round-robin feedback session where participants summarize their answers using a few words that capture their idea. If a participant's idea has already been shared by another participant, they are to share the next idea on their index card. However, if their idea has an important twist or perspective, they are asked to share this. The round-robin continues until all ideas have been shared. The moderator or a note taker records all ideas in a list on a flip chart. (~10 minutes) Discussing ideas: Participants engage in a discussion to clarify the meaning of each idea on the list and to express their understanding of the logic behind the idea and its relative importance. While this step is for clarification rather than debate, group members are free to discuss varying viewpoints or express disagreement. The original author of the idea is under no special obligation to clarify, explain or defend their idea, as each is assumed to reflect an initial thought that might be improved by others during this clarification process. Ideas can be modified, combined or new ideas generated during this discussion process. The moderator's job is to pace the conversation and move participants along if too much time is spent on any one item. (~5-10 minutes) Ranking ideas: Individuals vote privately to prioritize the ideas. The moderator establishes what criteria participants should use to prioritize ideas (feasibility, impact, overall utility, likelihood of adoption, etc.). Votes are tallied to identify ideas rated highest by the group as a whole. To start, each group member selects the five best ideas from the group’s list and writes one idea on each of 5 index cards. Next, each member ranks the five ideas selected, with the most important receiving a rank of 5, and the least important receiving a rank of 1. After members rank their responses in order of priority, the moderator creates a tally sheet on the flip chart with numbers down the left-hand side of the chart, which correspond to the ideas from the round-robin. The moderator collects all the cards from the participants and asks one group member to read each idea number and number of points allocated to each one, while the moderator records and then adds the scores on the tally sheet. The ideas that are most highly rated by the group are the most favored group actions or ideas in response to the question posed by the moderator. Variations If you have a large group of people, you can conduct multiple NGT groups in one session using a moderator for each group. Examples References / Other Resources

The Stakeholder Engagement Navigator is a service of the Data Science to Patient Value Initiative at the
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

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