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Software to support expert elicitation : An exploratory study of existing software packages

Software ter ondersteuning van expert schattingen: een verkennende studie


Expert elicitations are used to gather the informed opinion of experts on topics about which little or no knowledge is available. They can also be used to build consensus on controversial knowledge. Software packages can provide important support, but a lot of researchers are not well aware of that. The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) therefore made an overview of the different possibilities. For this overview scientific literature has been reviewed, supplemented with sources on the Internet. This has been funded from the strategic research program (SOR) of the institute.

There appear to exist software packages that provide support in: 1) the collaboration of experts and building consensus; 2) characterization of uncertainties; 3) selection of experts; 4) design and execution of the process of estimation and; 5) aggregation and reporting about outcomes.

When designing and executing the estimation process, software can assist in developing and analysing conceptual models. They can also assist in the assessment of scenarios and the estimation of model parameters. For the characterization of uncertainties only one type of software is available: the software of the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL).

Currently, supporting software appears not to be equipped to moderate expert elicitations by mail or by using Internet as an alternative for gathering a group of experts on one specific location.

As the exact and future usage of expert elicitation at RIVM is not known, it is not possible to provide specific advice on the use of software in these specific situations.

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