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December 2018 SEA-Q


Which of the following methods represents an example of a qualitative approach to interpreting data and reaching conclusions?

  • A.) Chi-square Test
  • B.) Delphi Technique
  • C.) Analysis of Variance
  • D.) Pearson Correlation


B.) Delphi Technique


The Delphi technique (original namesake being the Oracle of Delphi) was originally designed as a method of forecasting, reliant on an expert panel. Panelists complete multiple rounds of questionnaires, where every iteration is based on the opinions collected in the prior round. This technique leverages expert opinion to effectively synthesize information, experience, and unquantifiable variables, with the goal of predicting future outcomes or developing tools such as checklists or a list of criteria to be applied for evaluation or assessment. This consensus building method is best utilized to approach complex and difficult to quantify issues by leveraging the unique synthetic abilities of the expert mind. Examples of this technique include the development of a list of necessary conditions for removing a patient from cardio-pulmonary bypass (the use of the Delphi technique with a panel of seasoned cardiac anesthesiologists), or the development of a list of critical competency-based milestones necessary for trainee advancement within a medical training program (the use of the Delphi technique with a group of expert educators).
A Chi-square Test is a test of quantitative data to measure how likely it is that an observed distribution is due to chance.
Analysis of Variance provides a statistical test (quantitative data) of whether the population means of several groups are equal and generalizes the t-test to more than two groups.
Finally, Pearson Correlation is an evaluation of quantitative data that produces a number between -1 and 1 that indicates the extent to which two variables are linearly related.


  1. Habibi A, Sarafrazi A, Izadyar S. Delphi Technique Theoretical Framework in Qualitative Research. The International Journal of Engineering and Science. 2014. 3;4: 08-13
  2. De Villiers MR, De Villiers PJ, Kent AP. The Delphi technique in health sciences education research. Medical Teacher. 2005 Nov 1;27(7):639-43.
  3. Marchais JE. A Delphi technique to identify and evaluate criteria for construction of PBL problems. Medical Education. 1999 Jul;33(7):504-8.

Author Information:

Bryan Mahoney, MD

Bryan Mahoney, MD, received his undergraduate education at the University of Florida and undergraduate medical education at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. During his residency training in Anesthesiology at the Mount Sinai Hospital, he acquired expertise in simulation education through the clinical education residency track in the Human Emulation, Education, and Evaluation Lab for Patient Safety and Professional Study (HELPS) Center. He went on to complete fellowship training in Obstetric Anesthesiology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

As a faculty member at the Wexner Medical Center at the Ohio State University Department of Anesthesiology Division of Obstetric Anesthesiology, Dr. Mahoney conducted multiple clinical trials exploring epidural loading techniques and represented the division on the multi-disciplinary group for parturients with congenital and acquired cardiac disease.  As a core faculty member at the Ohio State University Clinical Skills and Assessment Center, he helped lead the effort to establish the first ASA endorsed simulation center in the state of Ohio.

Dr. Mahoney currently serves as the Residency Program Director at the Mount Sinai St. Luke’s- Roosevelt Hospital, Department of Anesthesiology, where he is a faculty member in the Division of Obstetric Anesthesiology and a faculty member of the HELPS Center at the Mount Sinai Hospital Icahn School of Medicine.


The SEA is proud to be a member-driven organization, dedicated to the teaching and development of future anesthesiologists, and to the advancement of those who educate them.

Contact Info:

Society for Education in Anesthesia
6737 W. Washington St, Suite 4210 • Milwaukee, WI 53214 • (414) 389-8614