Obtaining consensus from mixed groups: an adapted nominal group technique

Hayley A. Hutchings, Frances L. Rapport, Sarah Wright, Marcus A. Doel

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Aims: To describe an adapted Nominal Group Technique which can be applied to mixed populations. Study Design: Mixed methods Nominal Group Technique (NGT) consensus building exercise. Place and Duration of Study: Community Pharmacy across South West Wales, United Kingdom (UK) between 2009 and 2010. Methodology: We describe the research methodology involved in an adapted Nominal Group Technique. We carried out the adapted NGT exercise in homogenous consultation workshops following the traditional approach which resulted in the generation of individual consensus lists of the important issues related to the posed question. In order to ensure that issues highlighted within different consultation workshops were maintained in the outputs we further developed the NGT approach, firstly by bringing common issues together by applying a thematization process and then further applying a second consensus building exercise based on the developed themes with a mixed population group. By supplementing consensus data with qualitative data collected during the research process, we further explored and justified the consensus reached. Results: We successfully applied the adapted NGT within the community pharmacy setting and were able to gain consensus regarding the positive and challenging aspects of patient- centred professionalism. Using qualitative data collected, we were able to describe in more detail the issues raised and the justification for the consensus reached. Conclusion: Using an adapted NGT, we describe how consensus was reached regarding the study question and how the basis for the consensus was explored. By applying this adapted NGT we were able to gain consensus regarding the relative importance of the issues under discussion across a mixed population group. The adapted approach allowed us to elaborate upon the consensus reached and justify the relative importance of the choices that were made.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)491-502
Number of pages12
JournalBritish journal of medicine and medical research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2013. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • consensus methods
  • nominal group technique
  • pharmacy
  • mixed methods


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