Reasoning maps for decision aid: an integrated approach for problem-structuring and multi-criteria evaluation

F. Ackermann, V. Belton, L. Ensslin, G. Montibeller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)


This paper proposes a tool for multi-criteria decision aid to be referred to as a reasoning map. It is motivated by a desire to provide an integrated approach to problem structuring and evaluation, and in particular, to make the transition between these two processes a natural and seamless progression. The approach has two phases. In the first one, the building of a reasoning map supports problem structuring, capturing a decision maker's reasoning as a network of means and ends concepts. In the second phase, this map is enhanced, employing a user-defined qualitative scale to measure both performances of decision options and strengths of influence for each means-end link. This latter phase supports the decision maker in evaluating the positive and negative impacts of an action through synthesis of the qualitative information. A case study, which investigates the use of the method in practice, is also presented.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)575-589
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the Operational Research Society
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • reasoning maps
  • decision aids
  • problem-structuring
  • multi-criteria evaluation

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