Determining the point values for a points system is sometimes known as ‘scoring’ the System.

Having specified the criteria for a points system, the task remains of determining their point values so that the preferred ranking of alternatives is reproduced by the ranking of total scores.

Belton & Stewart (2002, pp. 55-59), for example, discuss the issues that decision-makers should consider when identifying and specifying a points system’s criteria and levels.

A large number of scoring methods are available, including the following. Detailed information about each of them is available from the references cited.

Some of these methods (and others) are incorporated into software – for a recent survey of decision analysis software, see OR/MS Today (2016)’s Decision Analysis Software Survey.

  • PAPRIKA (Potentially All Pairwise RanKings of all possible Alternatives) (Hansen & Ombler 2008) – as implemented by 1000minds. For a gentle introduction to PAPRIKA, have a look at PAPRIKA method and read the Wikipedia article.
  • The ‘allocation of points’ method, whereby decision makers allocate a fixed number (‘budget’) of points (eg. 100) amongst the criteria which are interpreted as criterion weights.
  • Conjoint analysis (Green & Srinivasan 1978, 1990, Barron & Person 1979)
  • Direct rating (von Winterfeldt & Edwards 1986)
  • SMART (Simple Multi-Attribute Rating Technique) (Edwards 1977, Edwards & Barron 1994)
  • SWING (von Winterfeldt & Edwards 1986)
  • AHP (Analytic Hierarchy Process) (Saaty 1980, 1990). See the Wikipedia article for details.


FH Barron & HB Person (1979) “Assessment of multiplicative utility functions via holistic judgments”. Organizational Behavior & Human Decision Processes 24, 147-166.

V Belton & TJ Stewart (2002) Multiple Criteria Decision Analysis: An Integrated Approach. Kluwer.

W Edwards (1977) “How to use multiattribute utility measurement for social decision making”. IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man & Cybernetics 7, 326-340.

W Edwards & FH Barron (1994) “SMARTS and SMARTER: Improved simple methods for multiattribute utility measurement”. Organizational Behavior & Human Decision Processes 60, 306-325.

PE Green & V Srinivasan (1978) “Conjoint analysis in consumer research: Issues and outlook”. Journal of Consumer Research 5, 103-123.

PE Green & V Srinivasan (1990) “Conjoint analysis in marketing: New developments with implications for research and practice”. Journal of Marketing 54, 3-19.

P Hansen & F Ombler (2008) “A new method for scoring multi-attribute value models using pairwise rankings of alternatives”, Journal of Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis 15, 87-107.

OR/MS TodayDecision analysis software survey”. OR/MS Today 43(5).

TL Saaty (1980) The Analytic Hierarchic Process. McGraw Hill.

TL Saaty (1990) “How to make a decision: The Analytic Hierarchic Process”. European Journal of Operational Research 48, 9-26.

D Von Winterfeldt & W Edwards (1986) Decision Analysis & Behavioral Research. Cambridge University Press.

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