University of Sheffield

Tony O'Hagan - Academic pages - Abstracts


Eliciting Expert Beliefs in Substantial Practical Applications

A. O'Hagan

University of Nottingham

Publication details: The Statistician 47, 21-35, 1998.


The practical elicitation of expert beliefs is considered through two contrasting examples. The first example concerns elicitation of engineers' prior beliefs about various quantities relating to the future capital investment need of a water company. Prior beliefs needed to be elicited about very many quantities, but only in the form of prior means, variances and covariances. A computerised procedure was required that could be routinely used by engineers, unsupervised. The second example is a single, application-specific elicitation of the beliefs of hydrogeologists about properties of certain rocks. A full probability specification was ideally to be obtained from a two-day intensive, supervised, elicitation with several experts together.

The two different approaches used for these problems are described and contrasted, but a common principle of trying to identify and elicit separately the various sources of expert uncertainty is identified.

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