What can discrete choice experiments do for you?

Jennifer Cleland (Corresponding Author), Terry Porteous, Diane Skatun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
12 Downloads (Pure)


In everyday life, the choices we make are influenced by our preferences for the alternatives available to us. The same is true when choosing medical education, training and jobs. More often than not, those alternatives comprise multiple attributes and our ultimate choice will be guided by the value we place on each attribute relative to the others. In education for example, choice of university is likely to be influenced by preferences for institutional reputation, location, cost and course content; but which of these attributes is the most influential? An understanding of what is valued by applicants, students, trainees and colleagues is of increasing importance in the higher education and medical job market places, in order to develop options that meet their needs and preferences.
In this article we describe the Discrete Choice Experiment (DCE), a survey method borrowed from economics that allows us to quantify the value respondents place on the attributes of goods and services, and to explore whether and to what extent they are willing to trade-off less of one attribute for more of another.
To date, DCEs have been used to look at medical workforce issues but relatively little else in the field of medical education. However, many outstanding questions within medical education could be usefully addressed using DCEs. A better understanding is needed of which attributes have most influence on, for example, staff and/or student satisfaction, choice of university and choice of career, and to what extent stakeholders are prepared to trade-off between those attributes. Knowing this will allow us to tailor the way medical education is provided to better meet the needs of key stakeholders within the available resource.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1113-1124
Number of pages12
JournalMedical Education
Issue number11
Early online date26 Sep 2018
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018


Dive into the research topics of 'What can discrete choice experiments do for you?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this