Venturing into the unknown using a Delphi study.

Year: 2018

Author: Osman, Ann

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

As part of a PhD investigating STEM Education from an Australian perspective, a Delphi study was used to gather qualitative data. A Delphi study can be described as method of structuring a group discussion where the participants as a whole can deal with a particular problem, in this case providing a vision for STEM Education (Linstone and Turoff (eds.) (1975 The Delphi Method: Techniques and Applications)The Delphi study was used to determine if a group of participants with a diverse range of experiences and positions in Education and the STEM disciplines could agree on a vision for STEM Education in Australia.The Delphi study is an iterative process where the participants responded to a set of successive questionnaires that sought their opinions and ideas related to STEM Education. An analysis of a selection of documents from the published authority (for example, government reports, published curricula and research literature) preceded the Delphi study. The emergent themes from this analysis were used in the construction of the Delphi study.There were three iterations in this Delphi study. In the first iteration (Questionnaire 1) the participants were asked to list the purposes for STEM Education. These responses were collated and emergent themes identified. These themes were then used to prepare a list of statements related to the implementation of STEM Education for the second iteration (Questionnaire 2). The participants were asked to rank these statements using a scale from 1 (high importance) to 5 (low importance) and to explain their ranking. The analysis of the data from both Questionnaires 1 and 2 was used to construct a set of visions for STEM Education in Australia. In the third (and final) iteration (Questionnaire 3) the participants were asked to select and elaborate on their choice of preferred vision from the set provided.Early findings indicate that it is possible to construct a vision for STEM Education in Australia that accommodates a variety of purposes and modes of delivery and that this vision shares similarities with those from published in the literature.This presentation will elaborate further the effective use of a Delphi study with a focus on how the design of the questionnaires, how the data was analysed and how the trustworthiness of the conclusions drawn from the data were enhanced.