Title: An expert opinion elicitation method based on binary search and Bayesian intervals

Authors: Paulo Renato A. Firmino; Enrique López Droguett

Addresses: Center for Science and Technology, Federal University of Cariri, 63048-080, Juazeiro do Norte, Ceará, Brazil ' Department of Mechanical Engineering, Center for Risk and Reliability, University of Maryland, 0151D Glenn L. Martin Hall, College Park, MD 20742, USA

Abstract: This paper proposes an indirect method to elicit experts' opinions. The approach is an attempt to balance accuracy and time consumption (efficiency) in elicitation exercises. Each step of the proposed method involves two types of questions: first, the expert is asked about which of two subintervals most likely holds the unknown of interest (a procedure similar to the binary search algorithm); then, the expert assigns a credibility level on which he bases his decision. A set of Bayesian intervals of the unknown is thereby obtained, and the probability distribution underlying expert's beliefs is approached. The usefulness of the method is analysed by means of: 1) a comparison with established methods from the literature (e.g., the direct and bisection methods); 2) its application to a real world case within the context of probabilistic risk analysis.

Keywords: uncertainty; expert opinion; opinion elicitation; probabilistic risk assessment; Bayesian intervals; computational search algorithms; binary search; Bayesian intervals; credibility levels.

DOI: 10.1504/IJRAM.2015.071224

International Journal of Risk Assessment and Management, 2015 Vol.18 No.3/4, pp.336 - 362

Received: 21 Apr 2014
Accepted: 09 Apr 2015

Published online: 17 Aug 2015 *

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