The "essence of the book" is to clarify what is involved in using decision-aiding software in evaluative decision-making at a non-technical level. Decision-aiding software in this context means software that can process a set of goals to be achieved, alternatives available for achieving them, and relations between goals and alternatives in order to choose or explain the best alternative, combination, allocation, or predictive-rule. The book is divided into "four main parts". A "general" introduction to decision-aiding software. That material is based on papers and workshops that have been presented at meetings of associations in political science, public administration, evaluation, public policy, and decision analysis. A set of chapters dealing with the "skills" which decision-aiding software enhances. Those skills include (1) choosing among discrete alternatives the best alternative or combination, (2) allocating scarce resources across people, activities, places, or other allocation categories, (3) explaining decisions that have been reached or predicting those to be reached, and (4) using decision-aiding software for teaching evaluation methods or substance. Chapters dealing with "analytic obstacles" that decision-aiding software helps overcome such as (1) multiple dimensions on multiple goals, (2) multiple missing information, (3) multiple and possibly conflicting constraints, (4) multiple alternatives that are too many to determine the effects of each one, and (5) the need for simplicity in spite of all that multiplicity. Chapters dealing with "applications" in different fields of knowledge. Those fields include public policy evaluation, law-related problems, and all other fields of knowledge.
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