Nature in and the Nature of Multi-criteria Decision Support


Dr. Martin Drechsler (Sekt. Ökosystemanalyse)


04/2001 − 04/2002


This research project deals with the conceptual basis of multi-criteria analysis − an instrument for decision analysis which is being increasingly used in environmental assessment and decision support for environmental conflicts.

Multi-criteria decision aid is designed to help decision-makers solve especially complex situations. It involves the decision-makers and decision analysts jointly working out an exact definition of the problem, and identifying the possible courses of action and the main decision criteria. The actors receive support from experts during the subsequent multi-criteria analysis and if necessary during the first three steps. The assessments are then aggregated with the analysts taking into account the decision-maker's preferences. The results (which may well contain incomparable options) then serve the decision-maker as a basis for decision or at least further considerations. The goal of multi-criteria decision aid is not so much to pinpoint one solution which is clearly better than others, but to help the decision-maker structure both the problem area and his or her own preferences. Scientific rigidity takes second place to a system of decision support which relies less on assumptions and is hence closer to reality.