An experiment on simplifying conjoint analysis designs for measuring preferences

Health Econ. 2003 Dec;12(12):1035-47. doi: 10.1002/hec.798.


In conjoint analysis (CA) studies, choosing between scenarios with multiple health attributes may be demanding for respondents. This study examined whether simplifying the choice task in CA designs, by using a design with more overlap of attribute levels, provides advantages over standard minimal-overlap methods. Two experimental conditions, minimal and increased-overlap discrete choice CA designs, were administered to 353 respondents as part of a larger HIV testing preference survey. In the minimal-overlap survey, all six attribute levels were allowed to vary. In the increased-overlap survey, an average of two attribute levels were the same between each set of scenarios. We hypothesized that the increased-overlap design would reduce cognitive burden, while minimally impacting statistical efficiency. We did not find any significant improvement in consistency, willingness to trade, perceived difficulty, fatigue, or efficiency, although several results were in the expected direction. However, evidence suggested that there were differences in stated preferences. The results increase our understanding of how respondents answer CA questions and how to improve future surveys.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Serodiagnosis / statistics & numerical data*
  • Choice Behavior*
  • Consumer Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Data Collection
  • HIV Infections / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • United States