Mesydel is a computer tool which aims to faithfully implement the main features of a Delphi survey: collection of data, multiple rounds of questionnaires; address book management; treatment and analysis of qualitative and quantitative data; and dedicated analysis tools.
The Delphi method is one of the most renowned "expert" methods. It is a prospective / foresight method which allows to survey a panel of experts in an iterative way. A typical Delphi survey consists of at least two rounds of questions. After each round, a moderator - or analyst - shall provide a synthesis which is used as a basis for the drafting of the following questionnaire, therefore allowing for a "controlled feedback".
Mesydel implements a large subset of the features of a Delphi survey: collection of data, multiple rounds of questionnaires, address book management, treatment and analysis of qualitative and quantitative questions, and dedicated analysis tools.
The Delphi method, one of the most renowned "expert" methods, is a prospective (also called foresight) method, which allows to survey a panel of experts – a recent trend tends to extend the meaning of experts to "experts of use", i.e. any layman/ laywoman which, by his/her very position, has acquired some kind of knowledge on a particular topic – in an iterative way: a typical Delphi survey consists of two rounds at least, with, between each round, a synthesis that is used as a base for the following questionnaire, allowing a "controlled feedback".
One important feature of the method is that it is based on the intuitions and insights of a panel of experts. These experts do not have access to the answers of their peers, which avoids the self-moderation bias: in a situation where such confidentiality were not established, experts could chose to adopt more consensual answers and to express less clear, softer opinions. The Delphi method proved to be efficient in creating "futuribles", i.e. scenarios that are deemed possible, but not certain.
Mesydel can allow, if needed, an anonymous treatment of responses, by a task division between the person in charge of the invitation procedure and the one responsible for the analysis of data. The respondents are shown to the latter as follows :
Mesydel has its own in-built module for e-mail communication. This module allows to send invitations, reminders and thank you notes to participants in a very simple and integrated way, through the use of personalised templates and of a powerful sorting tool.
Mesydel is the perfect tool to run multiple-round surveys in a Delphi-like style. Delphi surveys, with qualitative and quantitative questions, are particularly useful when exploring a weakly documented or/and complex phenomena and when looking for points of consensus or dissensus around a particular topic. Computerization also helps reducing the attrition rate between each round.
This process proved be efficient in creating one or several visions of a desirable future, as well as in exploring images of possible futures through, for example, scenarios that are deemed possible, but not certain.
Mesydel also offers an in-built analysis interface. Qualitative questions can be analysed thanks to a system of "tagging" which is based on the precepts of the "grounded theory". Quantitative answers, in turn, can be read through several types of chart.
However, in line with the philosophy of never letting the software take decisions in the place of the researcher, analysts are free to use or not the analytical tools that the software makes available.
Mesydel and its interface are available in several languages including English, French, Dutch, German and Spanish. Other languages could be available on demand.
Mesydel’s in-built module for tagging allows an question-per-question analysis that ensured anonymity for respondents.
To improve the analysis, the Mesydel in-built module for analysis allows the analyst to create facets that englobe several tags and help sorting them.
Mesydel, as in the Delphi method, mobilises both qualitative and quantitative questions. These questions include single-choice question, multiple-choice question, numerical question and open question. The latter opens the possibilities for the respondents to bring new and creative elements to the attention of the analyst. These new elements can therefore be fed back to the participants in a subsequent round of survey.
One important feature of the method is that it relies on the intuitions and insights of a panel of experts which do not have access to the answers of their peers. This therefore avoids the self-moderation bias: if such confidentiality would not be guaranteed, experts could chose to adopt more consensual answers and to express less clear, softer opinions.