Methodology for Subjective Assessment of Technological Advancement

by S. James Press, Alvin J. Harman, Marc Nerlove

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How do we assess the relative degree of technological advancement of different types of R&D projects that may require long periods of research and development, if they are feasible at all? The authors approach the problem by first relating R&D program management objectives to the need for assessment of technological advances, and then discussing procedures for obtaining and analyzing expert judgments on potential advances. Focus is on important issues involved in selecting a panel of experts, in eliciting informed judgments, and in designing a survey instrument for measuring those judgments. Three methods of multivariate analysis are described for quantifying and analyzing group judgment data: multidimensional scaling of individual differences; subjective probability procedures, including Bayesian approach; and a new procedure involving the use of simultaneous equation models in which the response variables are categorical, i.e., discrete and unordered. This new procedure, described in detail in the appendix, has great potential applicability in measuring technological advancement.

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