Skip main navigation

Criteria Setting

When evaluating ideas, one potential methodology is to identify a number of criteria to select against. In this article we show you a way to do that.
When evaluating ideas, one potential methodology is to identify a number of criteria to select against.
By assessing idea performance against the desired criteria, you can make a selection based on a balance of factors. You might choose to weight some criteria more heavily than others to reflect their relative importance.
Let’s have a look at an example:
You’re ordering a pizza, and there are three potential pizza places you could visit: Pizza Shed, Pizza Quick and Father John’s.
Your criteria are:
  • Taste
  • Price
  • Texture
  • Healthiness
  • Appetising appearance
In this problem, there are loads of potential options that you could take depending on the criteria that’s most important to you. You might be a picky eater and so taste is top of your list, or you might be tight on budget this week and be trying to cut back on costs.
In the table below, each characteristic is weighted according to how important it is. In this case, we’ve ranked taste as very important (with nine points), price and healthiness as of medium importance (three points) and texture and appearance as low (one point).
CharacteristicWeighting (points)
Taste9
Price (low is optimum)3
Texture1
Healthiness3
Appetising appearance1
Now, we need to take each pizza place and rate them out of ten for each characteristic
CharacteristicPizza ShedPizza QuickFather John’s
Taste878
Price (low is optimum)649
Texture688
Healthiness684
Appetising appearance786
Let’s combine the two tables. The ‘total’ underneath each pizza place will be the sum total of the characteristics, multiplied by their weighting, then added together:
CharacteristicWeighting (points)Pizza ShedPizza QuickFather John’s
Taste9(8×9)(7×9)(8×9)
Price (low is optimum)3(6×3)(4×3)(9×3)
Texture1(6×1)(8×1)(8×1)
Healthiness3(6×3)(8×3)(4×3)
Appetising appearance1(7×1)(8×1)(6×1)
Sum 72+18+6+18+763+12+8+24+872+27+8+12+6
Total 121115125
As we’ve ranked taste as the most important quality, Father John’s would come out top as its pizzas have been rated tastier than the other two pizza places. However, if someone were to rank healthiness more highly, Pizza Quick would more likely come out top.
This article is from the free online

Unleash Your Potential: Innovation and Enterprise

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education