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The "Importance" Question in ACA: Can It Be Omitted? (2005)

Although ACA has proven to be a useful and popular technique over two decades, many researchers have argued that the self-explicated importance question in the ACA "Priors" may be a weak link. The self-explicated importances can be confusing to some respondents, and the metric information provided by the responses may flatten the final derived importances. In this article, the authors report on a split-sample methodological study that tests an altered version of ACA (that skips the Importance questions) against the original ACA. The modified ACA is shown to produce directionally better share predictions of holdout choice tasks than the original ACA, with a lower overall interviewing time. Also, there is evidence that the information provided by the self-explicated importances is not only flatter than that contributed by the conjoint Pairs section, but the information is different.

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