Spatio-Temporal Methods in Environmental Epidemiology
Chapter 3 - The Importance of Uncertainty
This chapter contains a discussion of uncertainty,
both in terms of statistical modelling and quantification but also
in the wider setting of sources of uncertainty outside those normally
encountered in statistics. From this chapter, the reader will have
gained an understanding of the following topics:
Uncertainty can be dichotomised as either qualitative or quantitative,
with the former allowing consideration of a wide variety of sources of
uncertainty that would be difficult, if not impossible, to quantify
Quantitative uncertainty can be thought of as comprising both aleatory
and epistemic components, the former representing stochastic uncertainty
and the latter subjective uncertainty.
Methods for assessing uncertainty including eliciting prior information
from experts and sensitivity analysis.
Indexing quantitative uncertainty using the variance and entropy of the
distribution of a random quantity.
Uncertainty in post-normal science derives from a wide variety of issues
and can lead to high levels of that uncertainty with serious consequences.
Understanding uncertainty is therefore a vital feature of modern environmental