The most basic form of qualitative analysis forecasting is personal insight, in which an informed individual uses personal or company experience as a basis for developing future expectations. Although this approach is subjective, the reasoned judgment of informed individuals often provides valuable insight. When the informed opinion of several individuals is relied on, the approach is called forecasting through panel consensus. The panel consensus method assumes that several experts can arrive at forecasts that are superior to those that individuals generate. Direct interaction among experts can help ensure that resulting forecasts embody all available objective and subjective information.
Although the panel consensus method often results in forecasts that embody the collective wisdom of consulted experts, it can be unfavorably affected by the forceful personality of one or a few key individuals. A related approach, the delphi method, has been developed to counter this disadvantage. In the delphi method, members of a panel of experts individually receive a series of questions relating to the underlying forecasting problem. Responses are analyzed by an independent party, who then tries to elicit a consensus opinion by providing feedback to panel members in a manner that prevents direct identification of individual positions. This method helps limit the steamroller or bandwagon problems of the basic panel consensus approach.
Interview or mailed questionnaire approach to forecasting
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