Exploring predecisional behavior: An alternative approach to decision research
A trend in the study of decision behavior is the increased emphasis being placed on understanding the psychological processes underlying observed judgments or choices. Unfortunately, the input-output analyses that have been used by most decision researchers do not appear fully adequate to develop and test process models of decision behavior. It is argued that data collection methods are needed that will yield data on predecisional behavior in order to identify what information a decision maker has and how it is being processed. Two such process tracing methods, verbal protocol analysis and the analysis of information acquisition behavior, which should be especially valuable in decision research are illustrated and discussed. The process tracing approach appears to be a valuable complement to more traditional model fitting approaches to the study of decision behavior. The value of a multimethod approach is also illustrated and discussed.