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Expert Estimation

Expert estimation is a method for forecasting or assessing unknown factors, where expert knowledge and experience are leveraged to make estimations. This approach is commonly used in various fields such as project management, economics, technology, or research. Expert estimation can contribute to improving decision-making and reducing uncertainties. In this glossary entry, you will learn more about the different methods, advantages, and challenges of expert estimation.


Expert estimation (also known as expert judgment or expert opinion) is an approach that utilizes the knowledge and experience of experts to make forecasts, assessments, or estimates regarding unknown factors. It is a common method in many fields such as project management, economics, technology, and research to support decision-making and reduce uncertainties.

Methods of Expert Estimation

There are various methods to obtain expert estimations, including:

  • Delphi method: This method is based on structured communication among experts, where they submit their opinions anonymously and independently of each other. Through several rounds of expressing opinions and feedback, experts are encouraged to reconsider and possibly revise their estimations. The goal is to converge opinions and develop a collective expert estimation.
  • Panel discussion: In this method, experts openly and collaboratively discuss the topic. The discussion may be moderated or unmoderated. At the end of the discussion, a collective expert estimation is formulated.
  • Expert interviews: Experts are interviewed individually or in groups. The responses are then analyzed and summarized to obtain an expert estimation.
  • Analogy method: Here, the expert estimation is derived from experiences with similar situations or projects. Experts look for analogies and transfer them to the current case to make an estimation.

Advantages of Expert Estimation

Expert estimation offers several advantages:

  • Reduction of uncertainties: By incorporating expert knowledge and experience, uncertainties can be reduced, and better estimations can be achieved.
  • Flexibility: The methods of expert estimation can be adapted to various situations and questions.
  • Speed: Compared to other quantitative methods, expert estimation is usually faster and more cost-effective to implement.
  • Integration of interdisciplinary knowledge: Expert estimations can include different disciplines and perspectives to obtain a more comprehensive and well-founded estimation.

Challenges and Points of Criticism

There are also some challenges and points of criticism associated with expert estimation:

  • Subjectivity: Since expert estimations are based on opinions and experiences, they can be subjective and influenced by individual factors.
  • Expert bias: Experts may favor or neglect certain views due to their experiences and biases, which can affect the quality of the estimation.
  • Difficulty in expert selection: Choosing suitable experts can be a critical factor for the quality of expert estimation. It can be challenging to identify and recruit qualified experts.
  • Dependence on the method: The quality of expert estimation can depend on the chosen method. Some methods may lead to better results than others, depending on the situation and the question at hand.


Expert estimation is a valuable approach for making forecasts, assessments, and estimations in various fields. It offers benefits such as the reduction of uncertainties, flexibility, and speed. At the same time, challenges and points of criticism such as subjectivity, expert bias, and the selection of suitable experts should be taken into account. By applying appropriate methods and involving qualified experts, expert estimation can contribute to informed decisions and improved outcomes.