Nominal Group Technique

The technique is useful in identifying problems, exploring solutions, and establishing priorities. It is a structured meeting that attempts to provide an orderly mechanism for obtaining qualitative information from those who are familiar with a particular problem area.


  1. Present the overview of the topic and the focus question

  2. Subdivide group into nominal groups of 5 to 9 participants

  3. Silent generation of ideas - each participant writes responses to question

  4. Round-robin listing - each person or group, presents one idea, which is listed verbatim by facilitator on flipchart. Continue process until all ideas are listed.

  5. Discussion - facilitator leads group in a discussion to clarify ideas, to cluster similar ideas, to add new ones if necessary. Discussion is limited to a specified amount of time, normally 2 minutes per idea on the list.

  6. Ranking - each participant, without interacting with others, is asked to select the most important items on the total list and rank them in order of priority. Various methods can be used - select 5 to 10 most important, write five top priorities on cards, etc. Results are tabulated.

  7. Discussion - discuss the results of the vote.

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