The highest level(s) of influence this method typically matches with on the IAP2 public participation spectrum is…


To provide the public with balanced and objective information.


To obtain public feedback on analysis, alternatives and/or decisions.


To work directly with the public throughout the process.


To partner with the public in each aspect of the decision.


To place final decision making in the hands of the public.

Main Focus
Collect and compile input
1 -2 days
Minimal (1-3) staff members
Low cost (under 10k)
Small scale (under 25)

Multi-criteria decision analysis aims to allow groups to determine and agree on a set of criteria and weightings to apply to their decision making on challenging issues. Complex problems would often have conflicting criteria, for example factors such as high costs, might be in conflict with environmental benefits. Working together to decide on how how to weight multiple criteria can be valuable when the stakes are high. Decisions on the way forward can be made more confidently if the criteria collaboratively developed and is well accepted by the group.

What you'll need

Virtual Delivery

  • Video conferencing software with breakout room functionality
  • Data capture software – for recording questions, criteria inputs and polling
  • Facilitator
  • Runsheet

In-person Delivery

  • Appropriate and accessible venue for interactive session (breakout spaces if desired)
  • Mini kit of workshop materials
  • Facilitator
  • Runsheet
  • Catering

How to guide

Below are some considerations and steps for applying multi-criteria decision analysis to appraise policy and other decisions as part of an engagement process.

  1. Identify the problem/challenge or issue to be solved.
  2. Identify the number of options for solving that challenge.
  3. Collectively identify the criteria and weightings to be used to compare the options.
  4. Collectively analysis the options using the agreed criteria and scoring.
  5. Examine results and make decisions informed on analysis.
  6. Feedback and close the loop on decisions made.
  7. Evaluate process, methodology and acceptance of decisions.

The process outlined by Participedia involves four key steps:

  1. Preparation and involvement of the community from the start;
  2. An initial Workshop of all participants to determine the options and criteria;
  3. An Expert Panel to oversee the quantitative data and to rate the qualitative data, with both sets of data being input to a specialised software package.

A second Workshop of all participants to weight the criteria according to their importance. Using both the quantitative and qualitative data, together with the value judgement weightings, the computer software determines the best fit options.