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Aim: A discussion of the application of metadata, paradata and embedded data in web-based survey research, using two completed Delphi surveys as examples. Background: Metadata, paradata and embedded data use in web-based Delphi surveys has not been described in the literature. The rapid evolution and widespread use of online survey methods imply that paper-based Delphi methods will likely become obsolete. Commercially available web-based survey tools offer a convenient and affordable means of conducting Delphi research. Researchers and ethics committees may be unaware of the benefits and risks of using metadata in web-based surveys. Design: Discussion paper. Data sources: Two web-based, three-round Delphi surveys were conducted sequentially between August 2014 - January 2015 and April - May 2016. Their aims were to validate the Australian nurse practitioner metaspecialties and their respective clinical practice standards. Our discussion paper is supported by researcher experience and data obtained from conducting both web-based Delphi surveys. Implications for nursing: Researchers and ethics committees should consider the benefits and risks of metadata use in web-based survey methods. Web-based Delphi research using paradata and embedded data may introduce efficiencies that improve individual participant survey experiences and reduce attrition across iterations. Use of embedded data allows the efficient conduct of multiple simultaneous Delphi surveys across a shorter timeframe than traditional survey methods. Conclusion: The use of metadata, paradata and embedded data appears to improve response rates, identify bias and give possible explanation for apparent outlier responses, providing an efficient method of conducting web-based Delphi surveys.

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