Where a panel of experts are employed to respond to questions and put forward their opinions independently ie without meeting face to face (unlike panel consensus), eg through telephone or mailed questionnaires, and each of their responses are presented anonymously to other members of the panel (by a facilitator), until they independently reach a consensus. It involves a number of stages of collating and summarising responses which are re-circulated to respondents for modification until a consensus is reached. In contrast to focus groups, this technique eliminates the risk of individuals’ opinions being influenced by other members in group situations (possibly who shout the loudest or have the highest status), and thus bias towards a particular point of view.