A practical guide to the systematic application of nominal group technique

Rosemary Mullen*, Angela Kydd, Anne Fleming, Laura McMillan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Nominal group technique (NGT) is a highly structured, commonly used way of exploring areas of interest and developing consensus. However, it is sometimes conflated with focus group methods. 

AIM: To provide a rationale for selecting NGT as a research method and to examine its systematic application in a doctoral Q-methodology study exploring nursing students' perspectives of preserving dignity in care. 

DISCUSSION: An outline of NGT is provided, and it is distinguished from focus group methods. As well as providing a step-by-step guide to using NGT, each step is illustrated with its practical application in the study, and the lessons learned concerning the limitations and strengths of NGT in the context of one study are shared. 

CONCLUSION: When applied systematically, NGT enables nurse researchers to collaborate in a meaningful and engaging way with participants and generate tangible outcomes relatively quickly. 

IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: This paper offers practical insight into the use of NGT to explore perceptions and develop consensus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-20
Number of pages7
JournalNurse Researcher
Issue number1
Early online date25 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 11 Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • focus groups
  • instrument design
  • Q methodology
  • qualitative research
  • research
  • research methods


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