Enhancing Regional Analysis With the Delphi Method

Mark M. Miller, University of Southern Mississippi


Delphi methodology has been employed since the 1950s in a wide range of fields and applications, typically as an alternative to quantitative modeling and analysis. Based on the author's experience in urban planning and economic development applications, this technique can also appropriately and usefully serve as a complement to quantitative regional analysis. The appropriate application of Delphi methodology in this regard can address a number of important concerns in regional planning analysis, including how to effectively incorporate a qualitative dimension into quantitative data, how to most efficiently utilize scarce data collection and analysis resources, and how to turn data into "usable knowledge" for planning decision makers. In this way, Delphi methodology may provide an effective means of bridging the gap that commonly exists between regional planning analysis and its policy applications. Two case studies are provided, illustrating the practical application of this technique in a regional science context.