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Developing research priorities with a cohort of higher education for sustainability experts

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Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to examine the results of a Delphi exercise used at the Halifax Consultation in which 35 experts representing 17 countries gathered to develop research priorities for the emerging field of higher education for sustainability (HES). Design/methodology/approach ‐ The Delphi technique was used to elicit the opinions of a group of experts in order to achieve a consensus position on a research priority list through a series of questionnaires interspersed with controlled feedback. Findings ‐ The final stages of the Delphi exercise revealed 19 research theme areas that were ranked by the group to develop a final priority list. Research limitations/implications ‐ The results from each round of the Delphi give an interesting perspective on experts conceptualizations of what constitutes important research in the field. Further, the final results can be used to develop research programs and projects in the future. Practical implications ‐ Reflections on the use of the Delphi in developing research priorities can aid in the future use of this technique. Further, the results have been used as the foundation for further consultations with researchers and practitioners in this field in creating action plans for the United Nations decade of education for sustainable development. Originality/value ‐ The Halifax Consultation represents the first international meeting to focus on HES research. It is hoped that the results of the Delphi exercise conducted at the meeting will contribute to the tremendous work efforts to come and will prove to be an important component in the process of furthering the field of HES in the future.
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Keywords: Delphi method; Higher education; Sustainable development

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-01-16

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