How do experts think about statistics? Hints for improving undergraduate and postgraduate training

Low Choy, Samantha & Wilson, Therese (2009) How do experts think about statistics? Hints for improving undergraduate and postgraduate training. In IASE Satellite: Next Steps in Statistics Eeducation, 13-16 August 2009, Durban, South Africa.

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Experts are increasingly being called upon to quantify their knowledge, particularly in situations where data is not yet available or of limited relevance. In many cases this involves asking experts to estimate probabilities. For example experts, in ecology or related fields, might be called upon to estimate probabilities of incidence or abundance of species, and how they relate to environmental factors. Although many ecologists undergo some training in statistics at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, this does not necessarily focus on interpretations of probabilities. More accurate elicitation can be obtained by training experts prior to elicitation, and if necessary tailoring elicitation to address the expert’s strengths and weaknesses. Here we address the first step of diagnosing conceptual understanding of probabilities. We refer to the psychological literature which identifies several common biases or fallacies that arise during elicitation. These form the basis for developing a diagnostic questionnaire, as a tool for supporting accurate elicitation, particularly when several experts or elicitors are involved. We report on a qualitative assessment of results from a pilot of this questionnaire. These results raise several implications for training experts, not only prior to elicitation, but more strategically by targeting them whilst still undergraduate or postgraduate students.

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ID Code: 83229
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: expert elicitation, probability concepts, probability fallacies, training experts
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES (010000) > STATISTICS (010400) > Applied Statistics (010401)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > SPECIALIST STUDIES IN EDUCATION (130300) > Specialist Studies in Education not elsewhere classified (130399)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Mathematical Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 [Please consult the author]
Deposited On: 09 Apr 2015 23:56
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2015 16:38

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