The Use of a Scenario-Based Nominal Group Technique to Assess P/CVE Programs: Development and Pilot Testing of a Toolkit


  • Rachael Piltch-Loeb Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • Megan K. McBride Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • Anna Ekström Institute for Future Studies
  • Metodi Hadji-Janev Military Academy - General Mihailo Apostolski
  • Rachel Nielsen University of Denver
  • Richard Legault U.S. Department of Homeland Security
  • Nigel Walsh Harriman Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • Elena Savoia Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health


Countering Violent Extremism, Preventing Violent Extremism, Systems, Nominal-Group Technique


Preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE) requires coordination among multiple agencies, stakeholders and systems. The complexity of this task (compounded by the variety of P/CVE programming around the world) creates a  challenge for those hoping to develop these initiatives. The purpose of this project was to develop a replicable process and corresponding toolkit to engage multiple stakeholders in consensus building around the efficacy and improvement of nascent, developing or mature systems-level P/CVE programs. As a method, we adapted the process of nominal group technique (NGT), a structured-brainstorming tool that provides an orderly procedure for obtaining qualitative and ranked information from heterogenous participant pools. The technique we developed is based on a case-study approach (“scenario”) which we then tested in three countries (USA, Sweden, and North Macedonia) with existing P/CVE initiatives at different stages of development. We conducted scenario-based NGT sessions in each location and then systematically analyzed the results using iterative qualitative coding based on a common framework. Results were analyzed to achieve consensus on the most common system-level challenges and system-level functions, necessary to overcome those challenges, in each location. Practitioners in each local jurisdiction were then able to utilize the results derived from the NGT for their own purposes, such as advocacy to policy makers, strategic regional P/CVE planning, and ongoing stakeholder engagement.


This project was funded by the NATO Science for Peace and Security Programme under the award entitled "Evaluation Support for CVE at the Local Level" SPS.MYPG5556, the Swedish Contingency Agency (MSB), and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Science and Technology Directorate (Cooperative Agreement Number: 2015-ST-108-FRG005). The content of this manuscript as well as the views and discussions expressed are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of any of the above institutions, nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. government.


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