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An Empirical study of judgment making in groups using qualitative controlled feedback Ali, Mirza Wazed


This work gives an account of an empirical study on the assessment of judgments of individuals in a group. The phenomenon of judgment or decision making in groups appears in various contexts. However we are interested in situations where each member of a group is required to give independently of other members of the group, his most informed and reasoned judgment on a controversial issue. Nonetheless, it is of interest to gain knowledge about the importance of various judgments about the issue, and also of the arguments (or reasons) put forward by the judges to support their judgments. Such situations of judgmentmaking raise methodological problems for collecting judgmental data, and methods, such as, face-to-face discussion or the Delphi method may not be appropriate. To circumvent this problem, a new method called 'Qualitative Controlled Feedback' (Q.C.F.) was developed by Press [13]. Our aim in the present work is to examine the workings of the method by its application to a real world situation. With this aim, judgments (and other data of interest) were collected, using a three-stage Q.C.F. survey, from a random sample group of Faculty and Staff members of the University of British Columbia on a question related to the issue of whether or not the University should build an Indoor Aquatic Center on the campus. The data was analysed from an exploratory viewpoint. It was observed that qualitative controlled feedback creates a good interaction (in the sense of exchanging arguments and reasons) among the group members. Change in judgment occurred as subjects went from one stage to another after having qualitative feedback of information. By comparing with a control group of subjects, it was also found that qualitative feedback was able to produce more rational judgments than without any feedback. The distributions of judgment obtained in this empirical study bear significant implications for decision making. The distributions were found to be bimodal and represented two opposing groups of thought. Other results involve, regression analysis, transition probabilities of judgment change from one stage to another, analysis of judgment change behavior, importance of reasons, effect of non-response on judgment distributions and analysis of confidence in judgment. Finally, it was found that the method of Qualitative Controlled Feedback can be fruitfully applied to situations of practical interest.

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