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ACBC - Preference and sequence order of attribute levels

Hi community,

we have an ACBC-exercise around attributes (service features) of a service contract.
I am somewhat struggling with the sequence and preference order and concerned, that it will affect the unnecessary/must-have questions afterwards.

For example, we have an attribute "labor and maintenance", with the 4 levels starting from "Excluded", and ending with "All-in" package; I.e. the range of services offered within the attribute increments from level to level.

The question is, do I apply a sequence order for this list of attribute levels?
Or phrase it differently: Can such a list of attribute levels be treated as a sequence or not?

To apply a preference order then would be rather easy, but of course just possible, if I define a sequence order in advance.

Thanks a lot from Antwerp.

asked Jan 20, 2014 by Sven Schlonsak (180 points)

1 Answer

0 votes
The sequence order and preference order are only used for determining the logic that ACBC will use in the must-have or unacceptable probes.  It does not dictate anything to the utility estimation routine regarding utility constraints (monotonicity constraints).

The main two things to remember are 1) that you do not have to specify a sequence order for an attribute unless you want to (the software would work reasonably OK and you'd still get OK utilities if you treated an ordered attribute as unordered without sequence), 2) specifying a sequence helps the unacceptable and must-have questions work a little bit better and to have the right logical focus and phrasing of the "at least" or "at most" text.  If you flip the sequence or preference orders the wrong way, then the "must-have" question text can seem backward!  So, by testing the questionnaire and reading the text multiple times you'll see if you have made a mistake.

If you have more questions specific to your project setup or your attribute list, you could write or call directly into our technical support line.
answered Jan 20, 2014 by Bryan Orme Platinum Sawtooth Software, Inc. (132,290 points)
Thank you very much, Bryan. This helps a lot. Now I have a point to start from to check if I did it right.