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How to Make a Decision

1. Define the problem, characterizing the general purpose of your decision.
2. Identify the criteria, specifying the goals or objectives that you want to be able to accomplish.
3. Weight the criteria, deciding the relative importance of the goals.
4. Generate alternatives, identifying possible courses of action that might accomplish your various goals.
5. Rate each alternative on each criterion, assessing the extent to which each action would accomplish each goal.
6. Compute the optimal decision, evaluating each alternative by multiplying the expected effectiveness of each alternative with respect to a criterion times the weight of the criterion, then adding up the expected value of the alternative with respect to all criteria.

[Thank you, Paul Thagard]