The Role of Expert Judgment in Statistical Inference and Evidence-Based Decision-Making

Naomi C. Brownstein, Thomas A. Louis, Anthony O’Hagan, Jane Pendergast

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


This article resulted from our participation in the session on the “role of expert opinion and judgment in statistical inference” at the October 2017 ASA Symposium on Statistical Inference. We present a strong, unified statement on roles of expert judgment in statistics with processes for obtaining input, whether from a Bayesian or frequentist perspective. Topics include the role of subjectivity in the cycle of scientific inference and decisions, followed by a clinical trial and a greenhouse gas emissions case study that illustrate the role of judgments and the importance of basing them on objective information and a comprehensive uncertainty assessment. We close with a call for increased proactivity and involvement of statisticians in study conceptualization, design, conduct, analysis, and communication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56-68
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Statistician
Issue numbersup1
StatePublished - Mar 29 2019


  • Bayesian paradigm
  • Clinical trials
  • Collaboration
  • Elicitation
  • Scientific method
  • Subjectivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Mathematics(all)
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty


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