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Durham University

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Publication details

Jessop, A. (2011). Using imprecise estimates for weights. Journal of the Operational Research Society 62(6): 1048-1055.

Author(s) from Durham


In multi-attribute decision problems the decision to differentiate between alternatives will be affected by the precision with which weights are specified. Specifications are imprecise because of the uncertainty characteristic of the judgements on which weights are based. Uncertainties are from two sources, the accuracy with which judgements are articulated and the inconsistency when multiple judgements are made and must be reconciled. These uncertainties are modelled using probabilistic weight estimates integrated by the Dirichlet distribution. This ensures the consistency of the estimates and leads to the calculation of significance of the differences between alternatives. A simple plot of these significant differences helps in the final decision whether this is selection or ranking. The method is used to find weight estimates in the presence of both types of uncertainty acting separately and together.