Publication date: 08/13/2020

Choice Design Terminology

The following terminology is associated with choice designs:

An attribute is a feature of a product.

A profile is a specification of product attributes.

A choice set is a collection of profiles.

A survey is a collection of choice sets.

A partial profile is a profile in a choice design where only a specified number of attributes are varied within each choice set. The remaining attributes are not varied.

In a discrete choice experiment, respondents are presented with a survey containing several choice sets. Choice sets usually contain only a small number of profiles to facilitate the decision process. Within each choice set, each respondent specifies which of the profiles he or she prefers. For example, attributes for a laptop experiment might include speed, storage, screen size, battery life, and price. Different combinations of these attributes comprise product profiles. A choice set might consist of two profiles. From each choice set, a respondent chooses the profile that he or she prefers.

In cases where many attributes are involved, you can construct surveys where each choice set contains partial profiles. In a choice set with partial profiles, only a specified number of attributes are varied and the remaining attributes are held constant. This reduces the complexity of the choice task.

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