Guidelines For Using the Nominal Group Technique


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        GUIDELINES FOR USING THE NOMINAL GROUP TECHNIQUE

Research in group dynamics indicates that more ideas are expressed
by individuals working alone but in a group environment than by
individuals engaged in a formal group discussion.  The Nominal
Group Technique is a good way of getting many ideas from a group. 
It has advantages over the usual committee approach to identifying
ideas.  Group consensus can be reached faster and everyone has
equal opportunity to present their ideas.

The audience will be seated in groups of no more than 12 persons
around a table.  Two people will serve as group leaders, sharing
the responsibilities, one working as a facilitator, one as a
recorder.

The group leader/facilitator will ask each participant to introduce
him/herself in a sentence or two.  The group leader/facilitator
will review the procedure for Nominal Group Technique.

The nominal group is a structured group that meets to gather
information about a specific concern; that is, to identify problems
and priorities.  Individuals work alone but in a group setting. 
There are five steps in the Nominal Group Technique:

1. Individuals silently write down their ideas in a few words.

2. Each group member presents, but does not discuss, one of the
ideas on his or her list.  The ideas are recorded on newsprint. 
The leader then asks each person for a second idea, and so on,
until all ideas are recorded.  All ideas are recorded as presented.

3. The leader reads each idea on the newsprint and asks if there
are questions, interpretations, or explanations.  It's a good idea
at this point to number the ideas.

4. The leader asks each person to write down, in a few minutes, the
ideas that seem especially important.  Some people may feel only a
few items are important; others may feel all items are important. 
The leader then goes down the list and records the number of people
who consider each item a priority.

5. Finally, participants rate each item from no importance (0) to
top priority (10).  A person may have several top priority items
(all 10s), or only one top priority.  The leader then collects and
calculates the ratings and records the cumulative rating for each
item.

Starting with the issue receiving the highest priority, you may
search for solutions to the issue using the same method.  Action
steps may then be identified and prioritized.




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Comments to: crs@uvm.edu
Reviewed as of 4/20/98