SubjectsG761 Automated Reasoning
decision support systems
personal decision support system
multi-criteria decision making
analytic hierarchy process
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AbstractEffective decision making is a complex process and can be influenced by many factors. When making decisions, people always have to deal with many challenges such as: information overload, too many criteria to consider, etc. Decision Support Systems (DSS) emerged to help people make effective and informed decisions in the 1980s. They have been widely used and enhanced in recent years with new emerging internet technologies and decision models, one of them being Multi-criteria decision support systems (MCDSS). MCDSS aims to aid the decision makers to handle semi-structured decisions with multiple criteria. This research aims to help individuals understand the decision making process, especially the multi-criteria decision making process, and develop and test a personal decision support system (DSS) to help individuals make better decisions in the context of university selection by overseas students. The research investigates and analyses the key factors affecting students’ decisions when selecting a suitable university using personal interview and questionnaire survey methods; these find out students’ needs, and help design and develop a personal decision system prototype for international students using the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) method to aid them to select the best suitable university for their postgraduate study in the UK. Then the system is tested with students and their feedback analysed. This process has implications for developing and using DSS as a personal decision support tool, thus to provide a base for future research and development. This research made a number of contributions to DSS research and applications. Firstly, it addressed a gap in the current DSS research by designing and applying DSS for personal decision making using AHP because personal DSS reported in the literature is designed to serve business users. Secondly, it identifies key criteria in students’ decision making on university selection through student interviews and surveys. The key criteria are University ranking, Subject ranking, Completion rate, Location, Accommodation costs, Tuition fees, and Entry Requirements. Thirdly, the system evaluation results show that DSS-US is perceived to be effective, efficient and usable. For effectiveness, users believe that DSS-US has the potential to help them make better decision through personalization in terms of decision making criteria and weight allocation. For efficiency, students find that the system can save them significant amount of time when making their decision by helping them tom access the necessary information and data. Regarding the system usability, all the participants indicate that they were satisfied about the function of DSS-US. In addition, user can ‘play’ with DSUS system to explore different scenarios. They can try different weights to explore different results.
CitationWu, Q. (2012) 'A decision support system for international students' MSc thesis. University of Bedfordshire.
PublisherUniversity of Bedfordshire
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted for the degree of Master of Science by research of the University of Bedfordshire
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