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  • Cited by 9
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    This chapter has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Wood, Brianne Russell, Virginia L. El-Khatib, Ziad McFaul, Susan Taljaard, Monica Little, Julian and Graham, Ian D. 2018. “They Should Be Asking Us”: A Qualitative Decisional Needs Assessment for Women Considering Cervical Cancer Screening. Global Qualitative Nursing Research, Vol. 5, Issue. , p. 233339361878363.

    Wejnert, Barbara 2010. A Conceptual Threshold Model of Adoption of Innovations as a Function of Innovation's Value and Actor's Characteristics. Journal of Asia-Pacific Business, Vol. 11, Issue. 3, p. 197.

    Bornstein, Brian H. Marcus, David and Cassidy, William 2001. Choosing a doctor: an exploratory study of factors influencing patients’ choice of a primary care doctor. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, Vol. 6, Issue. 3, p. 255.

    Schneider, Sandra L. 2001. In search of realistic optimism: Meaning, knowledge, and warm fuzziness.. American Psychologist, Vol. 56, Issue. 3, p. 250.

    Kenny, Patricia Quine, Susan Shiell, Alan and Cameron, Sue 1999. Participation in treatment decision-making by women with early stage breast cancer. Health Expectations, Vol. 2, Issue. 3, p. 159.

    Jog, Vijay and Michalowski, Wojtek 1994. An interactive procedure for learning about preferences: Case study of a portfolio manager. Journal of Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis, Vol. 3, Issue. 1, p. 27.

    Pitz, Gordon F and Harren, Vincent A 1980. An analysis of career decision making from the point of view of information processing and decision theory. Journal of Vocational Behavior, Vol. 16, Issue. 3, p. 320.

    1980. Limits to Action. p. xv.

    Pitz, Gordon F. Heerboth, Joel and Sachs, Natalie J. 1980. Assessing the utility of multiattribute utility assessments. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, Vol. 26, Issue. 1, p. 65.

  • Print publication year: 1988
  • Online publication date: March 2011



An article of faith among students of value, choice, and attitude judgments is that people have reasonably well-defined opinions regarding the desirability of various events. Although these opinions may not be intuitively formulated in numerical (or even verbal) form, careful questioning can elicit judgments representing people's underlying values. From this stance, elicitation procedures are neutral tools, bias-free channels that translate subjective feelings into scientifically usable expressions. They impose no views on respondents beyond focusing attention on those value issues of interest to the investigator.

What happens, however, in cases where people do not know, or have difficulty appraising, what they want? Under such circumstances, elicitation procedures may become major forces in shaping the values expressed, or apparently expressed, in the judgments they require. They can induce random error (by confusing the respondent), systematic error (by hinting at what the “correct” response is), or unduly extreme judgments (by suggesting clarity and coherence of opinion that are not warranted). In such cases, the method becomes the message. If elicited values are used as guides for future behavior, they may lead to decisions not in the decision maker's best interest, to action when caution is desirable (or the opposite), or to the obfuscation of poorly formulated views needing careful development and clarification.

The topic of this chapter is the confrontation between those who hold (possibly inchoate) values and those who elicit values.

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Decision Making
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