What is nominal group technique its Elements to perform and Steps to carry out

Nominal group technique

The nominal group technique can be considered a variation of small discussion groups , brought together to reach consensus.

Information is gathered by asking individuals to respond to questions posed by a moderator, and then participants are asked to prioritize ideas or suggestions from all group members.

The process prevents a single person from dominating the discussion, encourages all group members to participate, and results in a set of priority solutions or recommendations that represent the group’s preferences.

Elements to perform a nominal group technique

These are some considerations that you should take into account to put the nominal group technique into practice:

1-The meeting room

Prepare a room large enough to accommodate five to nine participants. Arrange the tables in a U-shape, with a flip chart at the open end of the U for everyone to see.


Each U-shaped table will need a flip chart; a large marker; Scotch tape; and paper, pencil, and blank cards for each participant to take notes.

3-Opening statement

This statement clarifies the roles of the members and the goals of the group, and should include: a warm welcome, a statement of the importance of the task, a statement of the importance of each member’s contribution, and an indication of how the group result.

Steps to carry out a nominal group technique

These are the steps you should follow to implement the nominal group technique as part of your data collection process :

  1. Brainstorming: The moderator presents the question or problem to the group in written form and reads the question to the group. The facilitator instructs everyone to write their ideas in short sentences or statements and to work silently and independently. Each person silently generates ideas and writes them down.
  2. Idea presentation : Group members participate in a feedback session to concisely record each idea (no discussion at this point). The facilitator writes an idea from one group member on a flip chart that is visible to the whole group, and proceeds to ask the next group member for another idea, and so on. Ideas do not need to be repeated; however, if group members feel that an idea provides a different emphasis or variation, feel free to include it. Proceed until all members’ ideas have been documented.
  3. Discussion of Ideas : Each recorded idea is discussed below to determine its clarity and importance. For each idea, the moderator asks: “Are there any questions or comments that group members have on the topic?” This step provides an opportunity for members to express their understanding and relative importance of the topic. The creator of the idea need not feel compelled to clarify or explain the point; Any member of the group can play that role.
  4. Voting on Ideas: Individuals vote privately to prioritize ideas. Votes are counted to identify ideas that are highly valued by the group as a whole. The moderator establishes what criteria are used to prioritize ideas. To begin, each group member selects the five most important points from the group’s list and writes an idea on each card. Each member then ranks the five selected ideas, with the most important given a rank of 5, and the least important a rank of 1.

After members rank their responses in order of priority, the facilitator creates a tally sheet on the flip chart with numbers on the left side of the table, corresponding to the ideas from the round.

The moderator collects all the cards from the participants and asks a group member to read the number of the idea and the number of points assigned to each one, while the moderator records and then adds the scores on the tally sheet.

The ideas most valued by the group are the actions or group ideas most favored in response to the question posed by the moderator.

When to use the nominal group technique

This is a good method for obtaining group consensus , for example, when multiple people (program staff, stakeholders, community residents, etc.) are involved in building a logic model and the list of results for a component. specific is too long and therefore must be prioritized.

In this case, the questions to consider would be “Which of the listed products are most important to achieving our goal and are they easier to measure? Which of our products are the least important to achieving our goal and are the most difficult for us to measure? ”

Advantages and disadvantages of the nominal group technique

Among the benefits of using this technique are:

  • Generates more ideas than traditional group discussions.
  • Balances the influence of individuals by limiting the power of opinion leaders (especially advantageous for use with adolescents, where peer leaders can have an exaggerated effect on group decisions, or in collective meetings, where established leaders tend to dominate the discussion).
  • Reduces competition and pressure to conform, based on status within the group.
  • Encourage participants to face problems through constructive problem solving.
  • It allows the group to prioritize ideas democratically.
  • It tends to provide a greater sense of closure than can be achieved through group discussion.

Some of the disadvantages of a nominal group technique are:

  • Requires preparation.
  • It minimizes the debate and, therefore, does not allow the full development of ideas, so it can be a less stimulating process than other techniques.

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