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When experts disagree: Using the Policy Delphi method to analyse divergent expert expectations and preferences on UK energy futures

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Early online date13 Feb 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Feb 2020


Recent literature has highlighted the need to critically examine the assumptions and values that influence scenario analysis and expert advice on contested topics. To this end, this paper presents the results of a large scale two-round Policy Delphi expert survey on UK energy futures. The survey constitutes one of the most detailed and wide-ranging analyses of UK-based energy researchers and stakeholders (policymakers, businesses and civil society groups). Through a quantitative and qualitative analysis of expert views on two particularly challenging and contested topics (the future of heating provision in buildings and the future of personal transport), we develop an understanding of the extent of expert disagreement and the reasons behind it. For both heating and transport cases, disagreements and uncertainties emerged in terms of a number of specific parameters (particularly related to technical performance and the feasible pace of technology diffusion) and structural uncertainties (related to system boundaries, sociotechnical dynamics and the endogenous role of policy), and also epistemic and normative differences amongst participants. By setting out the diversity of expert views and reasoning on contested issues, Policy Delphi can help decision-makers understand expert disagreement, and how it is associated with different epistemic and normative perspectives.

    Research areas

  • Policy Delphi, expert views, energy systems, uncertainties, values

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