Systematic Use of Expert Opinions

by Olaf Helmer-Hirschberg

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An explanation of the experimental Delphi technique, a systematic procedure for obtaining the opinions of experts on a particular subject. Four sets of questionnaires are used, each asking for successive refinements in the estimated answer to a given question. The interquartile range of the response is crucial. Respondents outside this range are invited to defend or reevaluate their answers, using the information feedback available. Refinements include subsidiary questions, attribution of differential weights to opinions, and the removal of systematic bias. Future applications may use automatic processing for opinions of panel members geographically remote from each other. Simplified versions of the Delphi technique can be used in face-to-face discussion; more complex versions tap the panelists' intuitive knowledge through hierarchical sets of expert opinions.

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