Expert Knowledge

Expert Knowledge


“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore” - Andre Gide.

Risk is the word used to describe a venture or activity where the outcome is unknown and one or more of the outcomes could result in a loss, be this the loss of money, time or even life. This report will explain how people use expert and lay knowledge in order to perceive risk and also in order to live with these risks in their day to day lives.

It is thought that the definition of risk comes from two old words, risq the Arabic word used for someone acquiring wealth and good fortune (Skeat 1910) and the Latin word risco which was used to describe sailors entering unknown waters (Giddens 1999). In the modern day definition of risk, these two words have blended into one meaning, facing the unknown with the hope of acquiring wealth or good fortune from the venture.

This assignment will specifically look at the differences between expert and lay knowledge when applied to decision making where risk is involved. It will cover how expert knowledge is used and where the expert knowledge comes from, and how people use this expert knowledge with their own understanding to form socially created knowledge which is sometimes biased due to government and media influence.

Sam – this is excellent! Well done!

Expert Knowledge

Expert knowledge is knowledge that has been ‘created’ by recognized individuals such as scientists and scientific groups. This knowledge is generally a product of quantitative data which has been analysed to show patterns and characteristics in the data.

The most prolific use of expert knowledge and quantitative data applied to decision making and risk is the insurance industry. Insurers will hire statisticians to analyse data in order to calculate the risk and premium to be paid on the cover. For example, these statisticians might collect and analyse data on car collisions in order to calculate the cost of your car...

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