How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
Use when the research requires assessment or opinions of people with a relatively high level of skill or knowledge.
Identify what 'expert' means, for example using specific qualifications and experience. This could be done by a separate pre-study.
Select only those experts who pass the identified criteria for further study.
A study of expert research engineers starts with an exploration of who other engineers look up to and who are most valued by their employers. The result determines that 'expert' can be defined as only those who have been awarded ten or more patents and who have at least twelve years of experience.
Opinions of experts are more easily respected by other people. Studies that report expert opinion are likely to benefit from a reflected respect and so be more credible at least with an audience who unquestionably accepts those people as experts.
A key part of the reported study may be in establishing the expertise of the people in the study.
It is not uncommon for 'experts' to be selected on relatively simple criteria, for example where a professor from a local college is assumed to be able to pronounce authoritatively on their subject. In practice, they may be low down on the national scale of professorial expertise and other academics may quickly question what they say.
In this way 'experts' are popular with TV interviewers as they often sound like they know what they are talking about and are seldom questioned.
Experts are sometimes the subject of study, for example where the differences between their views is used to highlight uncertainties in their field of expertise.