Multicriteria Mapping Manual. Version 1.0.
102 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2016
Date Written: June 1, 2014
This Manual offers basic advice on how to do multicriteria mapping (MCM). It suggests how to: go about designing and building a typical MCM project;; engage with participants and analyse results – and get the most out of the online MCM tool. Key terms are shown in bold italics and defined and explained in a final Annex.
The online MCM software tool provides its own operational help. So this Manual is more focused on the general approach. There are no rigid rules. MCM is structured, but very flexible. It allows many more detailed features than can be covered here. MCM users are encouraged to think for themselves and be responsible and creative.
But there are some key underlying MCM values. The most crucial are as follows:
1) Inclusion: MCM aims to promote more inclusive, equitable and accessible appraisal. This means engaging in a respectful and balanced way, with a diversity of relevant perspectives – especially those most often marginalized.
2) Opening Up: MCM aims to help ‘open up’ appraisal. This means giving balanced attention to exploring and illuminating contending views. Using MCM just to aggregate a single final view has the effect instead of ‘closing down’.
3) Agency: MCM aims to ‘put participants in the driving seat’. An MCM project should be designed, implemented and analysed to maximise the agency of participants over the ways in which their own perspectives are represented.
4) Transparency: MCM only ‘opens up’, if results are conveyed fully and clearly to all parties with an interest in debates over the focal goal. Depending on context, this means publishing results and giving reasonable access to data.
This Manual gives advice on how these values can best be realised in practice. But there are so many detailed ways of doing this, that it is impossible fully to cover all. For instance, the basic steps described here apply equally to small student exercises or large research projects; conducted as face-to-face or remote engagements; in 1-to-1 interviews or small groups; or as some combination of these kinds of process.
For purposes of illustration, however, this Manual directly addresses the use of MCM only in a typical individual interview (rather than a small group session) and assumes that interviewees are ‘specialists’ with a broad familiarity with quantitative appraisal, comfort with computer tools and confidence in at least some of the issues at stake.
The same basic steps are involved in engaging with other kinds of participant in different ways. But the approach needs to be adapted to be used with non-specialist members of the public. This is especially important, in relation to Principle (2) above.
This Manual is intended mainly for members of an MCM project team (designers, researchers, interviewers, facilitators and analysts). So, it is quite technical in places. Although it might usefully be made available in some way to them, participants are likely to need briefer and simpler guidance, tailored to the particular project.
This Manual should be read in conjunction with other available MCM materials, which include many published reports and academic articles. These cover in more detail, the underlying rationale, and issues of wider project design and different modes of usage.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation