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[Consensus methods: review of original methods and their main alternatives used in public health]

Abstract : BACKGROUND: Consensus-based studies are increasingly used as decision making methods, for they have lower production cost than other methods (observation, experimentation, modelling) and provide results more rapidly. The objective of this paper is to describe the principles and methods of the four main methods, Delphi, nominal group, consensus development conference and RAND/UCLA, their use as it appears in peer-reviewed publications and validation studies published in the healthcare literature. METHODS: A bibliographic search was performed in PubMed/Medline, Banque de donn? sant?ublique (BDSP), The Cochrane Library, Pascal and Francis. Keywords, headings and qualifiers corresponding to a list of terms and expressions related to the consensus methods were searched in the thesauri, and used in the literature search. A search with the same terms and expressions was performed on Internet using the website Google Scholar. RESULTS: All methods, precisely described in the literature, are based on common basic principles such as definition of subject, selection of experts, and direct or remote interaction processes. They sometimes use quantitative assessment for ranking items. Numerous variants of these methods have been described. Few validation studies have been implemented. Not implementing these basic principles and failing to describe the methods used to reach the consensus were both frequent reasons contributing to raise suspicion regarding the validity of consensus methods. CONCLUSION: When it is applied to a new domain with important consequences in terms of decision making, a consensus method should be first validated.
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https://www.hal.inserm.fr/inserm-00325373
Contributor : Evelyne Mouillet <>
Submitted on : Thursday, September 5, 2013 - 4:55:21 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, November 29, 2017 - 2:54:06 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Friday, December 6, 2013 - 2:20:15 AM

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Fanny Bourrée, Philippe Michel, Louis Rachid Salmi. [Consensus methods: review of original methods and their main alternatives used in public health]. Epidemiology and Public Health / Revue d'Epidémiologie et de Santé Publique, Elsevier Masson, 2008, 56 (6), pp.415-23. ⟨10.1016/j.respe.2008.09.006⟩. ⟨inserm-00325373⟩

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