Thursday, August 31, 2006

What is an expert?

What is an expert? To me an expert is a person who has knowledge that is exceptional in a particular area that is beyond that of the average person. They do not need to be certified nor do they need a degree to be an expert. However, they do need to posses some common traits.

Experts are able to speak on their subject material without notes. If they perform a study or analysis they can recite the methodology, results and answer difficult questions because they have a thorough knowledge of the subject matter.

Experts qualify, validate and verify their work. They are also willing to discuss their work. Was the raw data used in the analysis correct? If you do several studies and obtain different outcomes, you are able to explain why those outcomes occurred. Experts not only put forth theories, but they must also validate their theories. If they do not validate or check a theory, then that is all it will ever be.

Qualification is establishing by objective evidence that a process under anticipated conditions produces a result of product meeting its predetermined requirements

Validation is establishing by objective evidence that a process, under anticipated conditions, consistently produces a result or product meeting its predetermined requirements.

Verification is confirmation by examination and provision of objective evidence that the specified requirements have been fulfilled.

Individuals can easily say they are presenting facts. However, can this individual substantiate these facts? I have asked questions at board meetings about “stated’ facts only to be deferred to someone else who then has two responses:

  • I will have to get back to you on that
  • Schedule a meeting
These types of responses from the individual in charge of a school district indicate a lack of knowledge and respect to the taxpayers. It indicates a lack of thoroughness and attention to detail. He is asking the taxpayers to allow him to spend $63.75 million. Does he not think he needs to justify this sum of money?

When I ask a question of the superintendent of Northwest Allen County Schools, it is for him to explain not just to me, but everyone at the meeting. His inability to answer basic questions concerning costs, enrollment, capacities and his total lack of handouts containing data of any kind disqualifies him in my opinion from being an expert.


At 1:47 PM, Anonymous Bob G. said...


I have to hand it to you...although I'm not affected by the NACS debacle (or is that "debate"?), I applaud your defining what entails being an EXPERT.

I used to call an "expert" by the following:

X - An UNKNOWN quantity.
SPURT - A sudden gush of water from a faucet.

In many cases..BOTH of our definitions apply to "THOSE" people who shall remain nameless.



At 10:12 PM, Blogger William Larsen said...

Bob, thanks for your comments. I like your definition. I had not seen it before. I am just tired of taxes going up, library, being annexed, now the school. It just seem like they think we are made of money. They seem to be able to sway most of the people by saying they had "experts", but I seem to find more and more they have made obvious mistakes. I guess I am just saying no once again. Who said I was a single issue candidate?


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