On using expert opinion in ecological analyses: a frequentist approach

On using expert opinion in ecological analyses: a frequentist approach Many ecological studies are characterized by paucity of hard data. Statistical analysis in such situations leads to flat‐likelihood functions and wide confidence intervals. Although, there is paucity of hard data, expert knowledge about the phenomenon under study is many times available. Such expert opinion may be used to strengthen statistical inference in these situations. Subjective Bayesian is one approach to incorporate expert opinion in statistical studies. This approach, aside from the subjectivity, also faces operational problems. Elicitation of the prior is the most difficult step. Another is the lack of a precise quantitative definition of what characterizes an expert. In this paper, we discuss a different approach to incorporating subjective expert opinion in statistical analyses. We argue that it is easier to elicit data than to elicit a prior. Such elicited data can then be used to supplement the hard, observed data to possibly improve precision of statistical analyses. The approach suggested here also leads to a natural definition of what constitutes a useful expert. We define a useful expert as one whose opinion adds information over and above what is provided by the observed data. This can be quantified in terms of the change in the Fisher information before and after using the expert opinion. One can, thus, avoid the real possibility of using an expert opinion that adds noise, instead of information, to the hard data. We illustrate this approach using an ecological problem of modeling and predicting occurrence of species. An interesting outcome of this analysis is that statistical thinking helps discriminate between a useful expert and a not so useful expert; expertness need not be decided purely on the basis of experience, fame, or such qualitative characteristics. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Environmetrics Wiley

On using expert opinion in ecological analyses: a frequentist approach

Environmetrics, Volume 17 (7) – Nov 1, 2006

Loading next page...
 
/lp/wiley/on-using-expert-opinion-in-ecological-analyses-a-frequentist-approach-lTec8j0mtl
Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
ISSN
1180-4009
eISSN
1099-095X
D.O.I.
10.1002/env.786
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Many ecological studies are characterized by paucity of hard data. Statistical analysis in such situations leads to flat‐likelihood functions and wide confidence intervals. Although, there is paucity of hard data, expert knowledge about the phenomenon under study is many times available. Such expert opinion may be used to strengthen statistical inference in these situations. Subjective Bayesian is one approach to incorporate expert opinion in statistical studies. This approach, aside from the subjectivity, also faces operational problems. Elicitation of the prior is the most difficult step. Another is the lack of a precise quantitative definition of what characterizes an expert. In this paper, we discuss a different approach to incorporating subjective expert opinion in statistical analyses. We argue that it is easier to elicit data than to elicit a prior. Such elicited data can then be used to supplement the hard, observed data to possibly improve precision of statistical analyses. The approach suggested here also leads to a natural definition of what constitutes a useful expert. We define a useful expert as one whose opinion adds information over and above what is provided by the observed data. This can be quantified in terms of the change in the Fisher information before and after using the expert opinion. One can, thus, avoid the real possibility of using an expert opinion that adds noise, instead of information, to the hard data. We illustrate this approach using an ecological problem of modeling and predicting occurrence of species. An interesting outcome of this analysis is that statistical thinking helps discriminate between a useful expert and a not so useful expert; expertness need not be decided purely on the basis of experience, fame, or such qualitative characteristics. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Journal

EnvironmetricsWiley

Published: Nov 1, 2006

References

  • Modelling and predicting species occurrence using broad‐scale environmental variables: an example with butterflies of the great basin
    Fleishman, Fleishman; MacNally, MacNally; Fay, Fay; Murphy, Murphy
  • Predictive habitat distribution models in ecology
    Guisan, Guisan; Zimmerman, Zimmerman
  • The role of guesswork in conserving the threatened Sand Skink
    McCoy, McCoy; Sutton, Sutton; Mushinsky, Mushinsky

You’re reading a free preview. Subscribe to read the entire article.


DeepDyve is your
personal research library

It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.

Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.

All for just $49/month

Explore the DeepDyve Library

Search

Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly

Organize

Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.

Access

Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.

Your journals are on DeepDyve

Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.

All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

See the journals in your area

DeepDyve

Freelancer

DeepDyve

Pro

Price

FREE

$49/month
$360/year

Save searches from
Google Scholar,
PubMed

Create folders to
organize your research

Export folders, citations

Read DeepDyve articles

Abstract access only

Unlimited access to over
18 million full-text articles

Print

20 pages / month

PDF Discount

20% off