Expert Opinions and Judgment in Qualitative Forecasting

In the realm of forecasting, one valuable approach that complements quantitative methods is the utilization of expert opinions and judgment. Qualitative forecasting methods, such as expert opinions, rely on the knowledge, experience, and insights of subject matter experts to make predictions about future events or trends. This section explores the significance of expert opinions in forecasting and provides an in-depth explanation of how they are leveraged.

The Power of Expert Opinions:

Expert opinions hold immense value in forecasting, especially when historical data is limited, unreliable, or unavailable. In situations where unique circumstances, emerging markets, or disruptive technologies are at play, expert judgment becomes crucial for making accurate predictions. Experts bring a wealth of knowledge, industry experience, and intuitive insights that quantitative models may struggle to capture. Their holistic understanding of market dynamics, industry trends, and contextual factors makes them valuable contributors to the forecasting process.


Obtaining expert opinions for forecasting typically involves the following steps:

  1. Expert Selection: Identify individuals who possess deep domain expertise and a track record of accurate insights. These experts can include industry veterans, thought leaders, academics, or consultants.

  2. Structured Interviews or Surveys: Conduct structured interviews or surveys to gather expert opinions on the specific forecasting topic. Use well-designed questionnaires that elicit thoughtful responses and allow experts to provide qualitative insights.

  3. Aggregating Expert Opinions: Analyze and aggregate the responses received from multiple experts. Look for common themes, patterns, or areas of agreement among the opinions. This step helps in mitigating individual biases and obtaining a collective expert view.

  4. Weighting and Integration: Assign weights to expert opinions based on their credibility, expertise, or past forecasting accuracy. Combine the opinions using a consensus-building approach, such as the average or the median, to arrive at a consolidated forecast.

Example: To illustrate the application of expert opinions, let’s consider a scenario where a company is launching a new product in the rapidly evolving field of renewable energy. Historical data for this product category may be limited, making it challenging to rely solely on quantitative forecasting methods. In such a case, seeking expert opinions becomes invaluable.

The company identifies and engages with experts from various backgrounds, including renewable energy researchers, industry professionals, and environmental policymakers. Through structured interviews, the experts share their insights on factors such as technological advancements, regulatory developments, market dynamics, and customer adoption trends.

The responses are then aggregated, and weights are assigned to each expert’s opinion based on their expertise and credibility. The weighted opinions are integrated to form a consensus forecast for the future demand and adoption of the company’s renewable energy product. This forecast serves as a vital input for strategic decision-making, production planning, and market positioning.


Expert opinions and judgment play a pivotal role in qualitative forecasting. They offer a valuable perspective that complements quantitative methods and helps bridge the gaps where data may be limited or uncertain. By harnessing the collective wisdom of subject matter experts, businesses can make more informed decisions, mitigate risks, and navigate complex market dynamics with greater confidence.

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