Editor Andrew Knight
Redefining expertise and improving ecological judgment
Article first published online: 11 MAR 2011
©2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Volume 4, Issue 2, pages 81–87, April/May 2011
How to Cite
Burgman, M., Carr, A., Godden, L., Gregory, R., McBride, M., Flander, L. and Maguire, L. (2011), Redefining expertise and improving ecological judgment. Conservation Letters, 4: 81–87. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-263X.2011.00165.x
- Issue published online: 8 APR 2011
- Article first published online: 11 MAR 2011
- Accepted manuscript online: 16 FEB 2011 04:35AM EST
- Received , 11 May 2010, Accepted, 3 February 2011
- lay judgment;
- structured elicitation
Expert judgments are a necessary part of environmental management. Typically, experts are defined by their qualifications, track record, professional standing, and experience. We outline the limitations of conventional definitions of expertise and describe how these requirements can sometimes exclude people with useful knowledge. The frailties and biases in expert judgments can interact with the social status afforded to experts to produce judgments that are both unassailable and wrong. Several approaches may improve the rigor of expert judgments; they include widening the set of experiences and skills involved in deliberations, employing structured elicitation, and making experts more accountable through testing and training. We outline the most serious impediments to the routine deployment of these tools, and suggest protocols that would overcome these hurdles.