Application of Fuzzy Delphi in the Selection of COPD Risk Factors among Steel Industry Workers


Community Health Department, National University of Malaysia, Malaysia.


Background: The Delphi method has been widely applied in many study areas to systematically gather experts’ input on particular topic. Recently, it has become increasingly well known in health related research. This paper applied the Fuzzy Delphi method to enhance the validation of a questionnaire pertaining chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) risk factors among metal industry workers. Materials and Methods: A detailed, predefined list of possible risk factors for COPD among metal industry workers was created through a comprehensive and exhaustive review of literature from 1995 to 2015. The COPD questionnaire were distributed among people identified as occupational, environmental, and hygiene experts. Linguistic variable using Likert scale was used by the expert to indicate their expert judgment of each item. Subsequently, the linguistic variable was converted into a triangular fuzzy number. The average score of the fuzzy number will be used to determine whether the item will be removed or retained. Results: Ten experts were involved in evaluating 26 items. The experts were in agreement with most of the items, with an average fuzzy number range between 0.429 and 0.800. Two items were removed and three items were added, leaving a total 26 items selected for the COPD risk factors questionnaire. The experts were in disagreement with each other for items F10 and F11 where most of the experts claimed that the question is too subjective and based on selfperception only. Conclusion: The fuzzy Delphi method enhanced the accuracy of the questionnaire pertaining to COPD risk factors, and decreased the length of the established tools.