27 September 2011

Can You Predict World Events Better Than Most...?

Editor's Note:  In March, I shared on this site the opportunity to participate in a "Forecasting World Events" study.  If you are already signed up for that study, you are not eligible to participate in this one.  But if not, and if you love the thought of anticipating questions like whether Hugo Chavez will be President of Venezuela, whether Italy will default on its foreign debt,  whether US troop levels in Afghanistan will drop below 50,000, whether a Category 4 or 5 hurricane will make landfall in Florida, or whether Apple will become the most valuable company in the world ... please read on!-RB

Call for Research Participants 

The System for Prediction, Aggregation, Display, and Elicitation (SP♠DE) team would like to take this opportunity to invite you to participate in an interactive, online research study aimed at exploring the field of forecasting. This is a federally funded research effort sponsored by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) to learn how judgments made by a widely dispersed and diverse group of individuals may be used to increase forecast accuracies. Your participation will include providing forecasts to questions relating to economic, political, cultural, and global security domains via an interactive website. Your predictions to these questions may be based on your individual knowledge or based on available information provided to you by other research participants.

Eligibility Information: U.S. citizens 18 years of age or older with expertise in specific subject matter may be eligible to participate. Additionally, individuals with diverse educational levels (e.g., bachelor’s degrees to Ph.D.s) across a range of disciplines are preferred.

Study Duration: The research study is expected to commence in summer 2011 and conclude in 2014. Although we encourage you to participate in the study as long as possible, we understand that some individuals will not be available to do so for the entire three year length of the program. In such instances, please know that you may withdraw at any time.

Participant Involvement: Since data collection for this effort is in the format of an online survey, you will have the flexibility of offering your forecasts around your schedule. We encourage you to stay active with the study’s website throughout your involvement with the study.

Economic Considerations: In addition to providing the field of forecasting invaluable data, you will be financially compensated for your involvement with the study. You will be paid $575 for responding to approximately 100 forecast problem sets listed on the study’s website over the course of one year. Responding to forecast problem sets includes original responses to a forecast problem, updates to the forecast problem over time, and additional input in regards to specific forecast problems. Additionally, you will be further compensated $575 for each additional year that you provide forecasts to approximately 100 forecast problem sets for up to three years of participation. If you decide to withdraw from the study prior to the study’s first year of completion, you will be compensated in accordance with how long you have been active in the study up until that point.

Staff Support: Although you will have a great deal of freedom in regards to your study participation (e.g., when/how often you visit the website, how long you wish to participate, etc.), support from the research staff is never more than a phone call or email away. Our dedicated support staff is readily available to answer any questions/concerns that you may have, arrange payments, and ensure that your participation in this research effort is a positive experience.

Even More Study Details:  To register as a participant or just to learn more about this unique research opportunity, please visit the SP♠DE website at www.iSPADE.net. Once you have registered, you will be contacted by a member of the research staff to determine your eligibility and obtain some preliminary information about you. Finally, participation in similar, online forecasting research studies sponsored by IARPA is prohibited while you are involved with the SP♠DE program. Thank you in advance for your interest and consideration.

 SP♠DE is managed by The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc., including members from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), Martin Research and Consulting (MRAC), and Mercyhurst College.