Journal of the Operational Research Society

, Volume 59, Issue 5, pp 575–589

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

Case Oriented Paper

DOI: 10.1057/palgrave.jors.2602347

Cite this article as:
Montibeller, G., Belton, V., Ackermann, F. et al. J Oper Res Soc (2008) 59: 575. doi:10.1057/palgrave.jors.2602347


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.


cognitive mappingmultiple criteria evaluationqualitative decision analysissoft-hard OR integration

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan Ltd 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • G Montibeller
    • 1
    • 1
  • V Belton
    • 2
  • F Ackermann
    • 2
  • L Ensslin
    • 3
  1. 1.London School of EconomicsLondonUK
  2. 2.University of StrathclydeGlasgowUK
  3. 3.Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC)FlorianópolisBrazil