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A Prescriptive Approach to Eliciting Decision Information
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences. (Decide)
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The amount of information involved in many decision making situations has increased dramatically in recent years and support of some kind is often needed. Consequently, fields like Business Intelligence (BI) and Decision Support Systems (DSS) have advanced. Decision analysis applications belong to the latter category and aim to support decision making activities in businesses and organizations, and provide more clearly structured decision material to use as a basis for decisions. In spite of a belief in their potential, their employment is still limited in practice, which could partly be attributed to the fact that they are incomplete to support decision processes sufficiently in real settings. At present, e.g., the specification and execution of the elicitation of input data is often left to the discretion of the user. Yet, this involves quite a few problematic elements and is of importance for the quality of the process as a whole.

This thesis focuses on more practically useful elicitation of information in decision analysis applications than what is offered today. A process model emphasizing the importance of structured elicitation of adequate input data throughout decision processes is also suggested. In order to further define the problematic aspects of elicitation, three empirical studies were conducted. The problems with eliciting precise decision data suggests that using imprecise values within elicitation is a more realistic and useful approach to strive for. Based on theory and the findings of the studies, a weight elicitation method for imprecise statements and noisy input was formalized into the Cardinal Rank Ordering of Criteria (CROC) method. This method is both compatible with an adapted prescriptive decision making model, focused on a more structured elicitation component, as well as algorithms for dealing with such data. The CROC method was employed and validated in two real-life cases, which is not so common within decision analysis research.

Abstract [sv]

Mängden information i många beslutssituationer har ökat markant under senare år och det finns ofta behov av någon form av stöd. Följaktligen har områden som Business Intelligence (BI) och Beslutsstödssystem (BSS) avancerat. Beslutsanalysverktyg tillhör den senare kategorin och syftar till att fungera som stöd vid beslutsfattande inom företag och organisationer och tillhandahålla mer strukturerat underlag för beslut. Trots en tro på deras potential, så är deras användande begränsat i praktiken, vilket delvis kan tillskrivas det faktum att de är inkompletta för att stödja beslutsprocesser i tillräcklig utsträckning i verkligheten. För närvarande förutsätts, t.ex. ofta att användaren själv klarar av att specificera och utföra utvinningen (eliciteringen) av input data. Detta involverar dock ett antal problematiska delar och dess kvalité är av vikt för hela processen.

Denna avhandling fokuserar på mer praktiskt användbar elicitering av information i beslutsanalys-applikationer än vad som finns att tillgå idag. En processmodell som betonar vikten av strukturerad elicitering av adekvata indata genom hela beslutsprocessen föreslås också. För att ytterligare definiera de problematiska aspekterna av elicitering utfördes tre empiriska studier. Problemen med att utvinna precisa beslutsdata antyder att användandet av oprecisa värden inom elicitering är en mer realistisk och användbar ansats att sträva efter. Baserat på teori och resultaten av studierna formaliserades en vikteliciterings-metod för oprecisa utlåtanden och osäkra indata i Cardinal Rank Ordering of Criteria (CROC) metoden. Metoden är både kompatibel med en anpassad preskriptiv beslutsmodell fokuserad på en mer strukturerad eliciteringskomponent samt algoritmer för att hantera denna typ av data. CROC-metoden användes och validerades i två riktiga fall, vilket inte är så vanligt inom beslutsanalys forskning.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Computer and Systems Sciences, Stockholm University , 2012. , 90 p.
Series
Report Series / Department of Computer & Systems Sciences, ISSN 1101-8526 ; 12-008
Keyword [en]
Decision Analysis, prescriptive, elicitation methods, multi-criteria
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-75396ISBN: 978-91-7447-517-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-75396DiVA: diva2:516277
Public defence
2012-05-31, lecture room 401, Forum, Isafjordsgatan 39, Kista, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 4: Accepted. Paper 7: Submitted. 

Available from: 2012-05-09 Created: 2012-04-17 Last updated: 2012-04-30Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. A Study on Framing Effects in Risk Elicitation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A Study on Framing Effects in Risk Elicitation
2005 (English)In: Proceedings of the International Conference on Computational Intelligence for Modelling Control and Automation (CIMCA), Vienna, 2005, 2005, 689-694 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Decision analysis tools are an effective way of structuring complex decision situations. However, their failure to incorporate reliable methods for elicitation is a shortcoming that needs to be dealt with. Since different elicitation methods have shown to yield different results, it is important to more thoroughly emphasize on aspects that can reduce biased results. The development of methods that explicitly recognize framing problems and aim to reduce these effects are needed. This study deals with framing problems within elicitation and how to reduce discrepancies between normative and descriptive behaviour in elicited risk data. The results indicate that the extra transitional state in one of the presentation formats, here referred to as Trade for, generated data that deviated more from normative rules when participants experienced gain prospects. On the other hand, for loss prospects the format more in line with normative rules depended on the presentation order of probabilities.

National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-38030 (URN)10.1109/CIMCA.2005.1631344 (DOI)0-7695-2504-0 (ISBN)
Conference
The International Conference on Computational Intelligence for Modelling Control and Automation (CIMCA), November 28 - November 30, 2005, Vienna, Austria
Available from: 2010-03-25 Created: 2010-03-25 Last updated: 2012-04-29Bibliographically approved
2. How Different Choice Strategies Can Affect the Risk Elicitation Process
Open this publication in new window or tab >>How Different Choice Strategies Can Affect the Risk Elicitation Process
2006 (English)In: IAENG International Journal of Computer Science, ISSN 1819-656X, E-ISSN 1819-9224, Vol. 4, no 32, 460-465 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper presents a study focusing on deviations from normative behavior in risk elicitation. Such deviations haveimplications on the process of eliciting reliable input data in applications of decision analysis. No existing elicitation method seems to be universally useful based on the findings made in this study. Since people obviously do not act in accordance with the normative rules, and different choice strategies have been identified, a prescriptive approach with individual assistance of the decision makers in the elicitation process thus seems to benecessary.

Keyword
Decision analysis, elicitation, risk behavior
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-37953 (URN)
Available from: 2010-03-24 Created: 2010-03-24 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
3. Risk Elicitation in Precise and Imprecise Domains - A Comparative Study, Sweden and Brazil
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Risk Elicitation in Precise and Imprecise Domains - A Comparative Study, Sweden and Brazil
2006 (English)In: International Conference on Computational Intelligence for Modelling, Control and Automation, CIMCA, 2006Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper presents a comparative study between two groups from different cultural contexts, Sweden and Brazil, when choosing among risky prospects. The study explores whether there are differences in choice behaviours when the uncertainty in the prospects is expressed as interval estimates instead of the traditional use of point estimates, as well as when prospects are displayed with and without expected monetary values. Both groups display similar choice behaviours when they choose among prospects where uncertainty is expressed as point vs. interval estimates, whereas the Brazilian respondents are more affected by EMV information. The results indicate that the employment of intervals to represent uncertainty can be beneficial and could facilitate the elicitation part in the use and development of decision analytical tools. Furthermore, there is a need for more flexible tools, more adapted to a prescriptive approach, since people from different cultural contexts seem to differ in their choice behaviours.

National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-37981 (URN)10.1109/CIMCA.2006.189 (DOI)0-7695-2731-0 (ISBN)
Conference
International Conference on Computational Intelligence for Modelling, Control and Automation, CIMCA, Nov. 28 2006 - Dec. 1 2006, Sydney, NSW
Available from: 2010-03-24 Created: 2010-03-24 Last updated: 2012-04-29Bibliographically approved
4. Employing Cardinal Rank Ordering of Criteria in Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Employing Cardinal Rank Ordering of Criteria in Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis
2012 (English)In: Uncertainty Modeling in Knowledge Engineering and Decision Making: Proceedings of the 10th International FLINS Conference / [ed] Cengiz Kahraman, Etienne E. Kerre, Faik Tunc Bozbura, 2012, , 7 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The elicitation of preference information in multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) processes and the lack of practical means supporting it is a significant problem in real-life applications of MCDA. The issues at hand are problematical in a multitude of ways, but some of these issues may be remedied by accepting weaker input statements from decision-makers than what is most commonly needed, yet being able to utilize these statements for decision evaluation. In this paper, we propose a fast and practically useful weight elicitation method, which builds on the ideas of rank-order methods, but in addition take imprecise cardinal information into account.

Publisher
7 p.
Series
World Scientific Proceedings Series on Computer Engineering and Information Science, 7
Keyword
multi-criteria decision analysis criteria elicitation
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-75395 (URN)978-981-4417-73-0 (ISBN)
Conference
The 10th International FLINS Conference, August 27-29, 2012, Istanbul, Turkey
Available from: 2012-04-18 Created: 2012-04-17 Last updated: 2013-02-11Bibliographically approved
5. Transparent Public Decision Making: Discussion and Case Study in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Transparent Public Decision Making: Discussion and Case Study in Sweden
2010 (English)In: e-Democracy:  A Group Decision and Negotiation Perspective / [ed] David Ríos Insua, Simon French, Dordrecht: Springer , 2010, no 1, 263-281 p.Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The Swedish city of Örebro has since long faced complex problems with poor water quality in a local river. This problem is a typical example of a regional decision problem, since there are several different stakeholders that might be affected, and there are different views on the need for, and effect of, different measures. The problems also strongly relate to the environmental condition of the river and involve other municipalities as well. In this chapter, we describe how to address this problem using an implementation of a systematic democratic deci-sion process for enhancing the transparency and the decision quality in itself. The process is in conformity with common democratic processes, but with higher em-phasis on accuracy and precision and on the interaction between civil servants and decision makers. A main issue here is to clearly separate the various views in-volved in these processes from the actual facts and, at the same time, facilitate input from various stakeholders. Therefore, we allow for modelling of outcomes based on different preferences and facilitate an elicitation process where views are extracted and combined with basic data from the background investigations preceding the decision. The process is divided into two stages. The first one is em-phasized in this chapter and concerns the internal democracy, i.e. the formulation and refinement of the original and extended decision problems and the interaction between politicians and civil servants, while the second stage deals with the external democracy, i.e. the communication with the public, where communication channels directed towards citizens will be formed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Dordrecht: Springer, 2010
Series
Advances in group decision and negotiation, ISSN 1871-935X ; 5
National Category
Information Science
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-52035 (URN)10.1007/978-90-481-9045-4_15 (DOI)978-90-481-9044-7 (ISBN)978-90-481-9045-4 (ISBN)
Available from: 2011-01-12 Created: 2011-01-12 Last updated: 2012-04-29Bibliographically approved
6. eParticipation Galore? Extending Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis to the Public
Open this publication in new window or tab >>eParticipation Galore? Extending Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis to the Public
2011 (English)In: International Journal of Public Information Systems, ISSN 1653-4360, Vol. 2011, no 2, 79-99 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

New approaches and tools are required because of the increasing request for public participation and democratic decision making. There are two particular major challenges associated with this namely, applications allowing for large numbers of users and the balancing of participation and expertise. This article tests a method attempting to achieve this by combining a multi-criteria decision approach with different forms of discussion and deliberation. The method involves relaxed requirements for user exactness in statements of opinion and was tested on 90 students aged 17-19. Is it possible to extend multi-criteria decision analysis to the public? In order to answer this question, our research focuses on (1) scalability, or the potential for increased participation, as well as (2) decision quality, i.e. whether the alternatives are reflected upon and if there have been reasoned judgments. The test and survey found both these criteria met. The findings suggest that the method can be used for large scale participation during a decision making process, but also that a participatory process is improved by lengthier deliberation and more than one point of measurement so that opinions can stabilize.

Keyword
democracy, elicitation, participation, e-participation, multi-criteria decision analysis
National Category
Information Science
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-65409 (URN)
Funder
Formas, 253-2007-1107
Available from: 2012-01-03 Created: 2011-12-09 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved
7. Cardinal and Rank Ordering of Criteria — Addressing Prescription within Weight Elicitation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Cardinal and Rank Ordering of Criteria — Addressing Prescription within Weight Elicitation
2015 (English)In: International Journal of Information Technology and Decision Making, ISSN 0219-6220, Vol. 14, 1299Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Weight elicitation methods in multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) are often cognitively demanding, require too much precision, time and effort. Some of the issues may be remedied by connecting elicitation methods to an inference engine facilitating a quick and easy method for decision-makers to use weaker input statements, yet being able to utilize these statements in a method for decision evaluation. In this paper, we propose a fast and practically useful weight elicitation method, answering to many of the requirements. The method builds on the ideas of rank-order methods, but can also take imprecise cardinal information into account. The method is subsequently employed in two real-life case studies and compared to a case where a simple ratio weight procedure using exact input statements was employed.

Keyword
Multi-criteria decision analysis, elicitation method, criteria weights, criteria ranking, incomplete information
National Category
Information Systems, Social aspects
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-75826 (URN)10.1142/S021962201450059X (DOI)000383676200008 ()
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas, 2011-3313-20412-312011-3313- 20412-31
Available from: 2012-04-28 Created: 2012-04-28 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved

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