The Sheffield Elicitation Framework (SHELF)

SHELF is a package of documents, templates and software to carry out elicitation of probability distributions for uncertain quantities from a group of experts. Elicitation is increasingly important for quantifying expert knowledge in situations where hard data are sparse. This is often the context in which difficult policy decisions are made.

It is generally important to elicit from a group of experts, rather than a single expert, in order to synthesise the range of knowledge and opinions of the expert community. However, SHELF may be used for a single expert with only trivial modification.

Despite this growing role for elicitation, there is little in the way of training and support available to those who wish to conduct elicitations. SHELF is a response to this shortage. By reading and carefully following the SHELF documentation, it should be possible for an untrained facilitator to carry out competent elicitation.

About us

SHELF has been developed by Tony O’Hagan and Jeremy Oakley, originally in the School of Mathematics and Statistics in the University of Sheffield. It arose out of our long-standing commitment to research and practice in elicitation.

The principal spur for developing SHELF was discussions in the project ‘Bayesian analysis in microbial risk assessment’, led by Helen Clough at the University of Liverpool and Marc Kennedy at the Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera), and in particular the encouragement of Andy Hart, formerly at Fera.

Jeremy Oakley

Professor of Statistics, the University of Sheffield

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Tony O'Hagan

Emeritus Professor, the University of Sheffield

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