Choosing appropriate techniques for socio-political forecasting

Donald A. Sylvan, Stuart J. Thorson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


After defining scientific forecasting, the crucial role of assumptions in such forecasts is explicated. This is followed by a discussion of the representations upon which forecasting systems are based. Six variables are then introduced to capture differences in socio-political forecasting circumstances: level of detail, accuracy, agreement on problem representation, robustness-brittleness, number of variables and interdependencies, and disturbance. A categorization of forecasting approaches - expert based, Bayesian, extremal statistical, and rule based - is offered. These forecasting approaches are then cross-referenced with the forecasting circumstances to produce recommendations for choosing an appropriate forecasting technique in a given policy circumstance. Most examples in the article are drawn from the realm of foreign policy and international politics, and the cross-referencing section concentrates on foreign energy policy examples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-282
Number of pages18
JournalPolicy Sciences
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 1980

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences
  • Public Administration
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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