Heuristic Analysis

In "Rational Will" decision analysis software, we try to help you to solve some of the problems of Pros and Cons' quantitative analysis, by heuristic analysis.

Detecting Cons that should not have included as Con.

Consider that you are going to buy a car and you have the following Pros Cons model.

1. Toyota 2005
2. Honda 2018

Pros and Cons of Toyota

Toyota_ Pros_ Cons

Pros and Cons of Honda

Honda_ Pros_ Cons

Do you notice a problem there? We are including "No GPS" as a Con in Toyota, why? Just because Honda has a GPS. So, we are crediting Honda 8 points for having GPS. And we are discrediting Toyota by 8 points for not having GPS. You have 8 point importance for GPS and therefore, if an option has a GPS, that option should have been just 8 points ahead of the option that does not have a GPS. But, in this scenario, Honda is (8 + 8 =) 16 points ahead of Toyota for Having GPS. You are discrediting Toyota 2 times. You should either List GPS as a Pro in Honda or list it 'No GPS' as a Con in Toyota. But not both. Notice the same problem with 'Cheap Price'. This model is not reliable and it may result in the wrong decision.

So, how to fix it?

You can remove the Con 'No GPS' from Toyota 2005 because we already credited Honda 2018 for that. You can remove the Con 'Price not cheap' from Honda 2018 because you already credited Toyota 2015 for that. As it is a small model, you can see the problem and fix it. But what about a big list of pros and cons with many options? It is not easy to detect such a problem and fix it, right?

That's why Pros and Cons analyzer has a Heuristic Analysis panel. Based on the Accuracy level setting, it will show you the list of Cons that you could have added by mistake and the panel gives you a way to fix it by clicking on a link button.


Now, notice that One option's Pro is missing in another option, so, the missing Pro is listed as a Con of the other option. Once you click the Fix button to fix, the incorrect Cons will be deleted.

Detecting Pros and Cons with the same idea.

You could have a Pro like "The car has GPS" in one option. Another option can have a pro like "There is a GPS in the car" and another option "Has GPS". They all express the same idea, right? So, won't it be better if we synchronize these sentences to be a single sentence in all options? Because, when you do a pairwise comparison, if you can detect these 3 sentences as the same idea, then the number of pair comparison can be reduced and the quality of evaluation will be higher.

The Heuristic Analysis panel will detect those sentences and it will let you synchronize those sentences to be the same sentence according to your choice.


Now, you can select a sentence that you want to use everywhere, by checking the radio button associated with the sentence in the above screen. Then, click the Fix button. You will notice that all Options will use the same sentence that you selected.

Detecting Duplicate Pros / Cons in the same Option

What about if you have some sentences in the same Option that means the same meaning. For example, say, you have 2 options. One option has 2 Pros "The car has GPS" and "There is a GPS in the car". If your list is big, you may not notice such a mistake. The same heuristic analysis as shown in the previous section will detect that as "multiple statements with possibly the same idea" and once you click the Fix button there, those extra Pros/Cons from that option will be deleted.

Last updated on May 28, 2020