A practical guide to the systematic application of nominal group technique
evidence and practice    

A practical guide to the systematic application of nominal group technique

Rosemary Mullen Lecturer in Nursing, School of Medicine, Dentistry and Nursing, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, Scotland
Angela Kydd Clinical Professor in Nursing, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland
Anne Fleming Independent Researcher, Glasgow, Scotland
Laura McMillan Staff Tutor, Nursing, The Open University, Milton Keynes, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To develop understanding of what nominal group technique is and how it relates to focus group methods

  • To find out how to apply nominal group technique in the context of a research study

  • To gain insight into the strengths and limitations of nominal group technique

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.

Nurse Researcher. doi: 10.7748/nr.2021.e1777

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software



Conflict of interest

None declared

Mullen R, Kydd A, Fleming A et al (2021) A practical guide to the systematic application of nominal group technique. Nurse Researcher. doi: 10.7748/nr.2021.e1777

Published online: 25 February 2021

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