Evidence-Based Practice: Applying Decision-Theory to Facilitate Individual’s Career Choices Itamar Gati The Hebrew University Jerusalem
Choosing a Career as a Decision-Making Process: Unique Features • Amount of Information: • Often large N of alternatives • Large N of considerations and factors • Within-occupation variance • Practically unlimited • Quality of Information • Soft, subjective • Fuzzy • Inaccurate or biased
Unique Features of Career Decisions (continued) • Uncertainty • about the individual’s future preferences • about future career options • unpredictable changes and opportunities • the implementation of the choice • Non-cognitive Factors • emotional and personality-related factors • necessity for compromise • actual or perceived social barriers and biases
CDM Difficulties of 15,000 surfers on the Future Directions website (Gati & Meyers, 2003) • Are you experiencing difficulties in making your career decision?
Implications and Conclusion • Many factors contribute to the complexity and difficulties involved in the career decision-making process • Career counseling may be viewed as decision counseling, which aims at facilitating the clients' decision-making process, and promoting better career decisions • By adopting decision theory and adapting it to the unique features of career decisions, theoretical knowledge can be translated into practical interventions to facilitate individuals’ career choices
How can Theoretical Knowledge and Empirical Methods be used for Developing Counseling Instruments? Today’s Presentation The three bases of career counseling: • Locating the focuses of the client’s decision-making difficulties (CDDQ) • Guidance in the decision-making process • The three-stage model (PIC) • Identifying the client’s stage in the process • Characterizing the client’s decision-making style (DS)
Career Decision-Making Difficulties • The first step in helping individuals is to locate the focuses of the difficulties they face in making career decisions • Gati, Krausz, and Osipow (1996) proposed a taxonomy for describing the difficulties (see Figure 1), based on: • the stage in the decision-making process during which the difficulties typically arise • the similarity between the sources of the difficulties • the effects that the difficulties may have on the process and the relevant type of intervention
During the Process Prior to Engaging in the Process Lack of Readiness due to InconsistentInformation due to Lack of Information about Lack of motivation Indeci-siveness Dysfunc-tionalbeliefs Cdmprocess Self Occu- pations Unreliable Info. Internal conflicts Externalconflicts Ways of obtaining info. Figure 1: Locating Career Decision-making Difficulties based on the taxonomy of Gati, Krausz, & Osipow (1996)
The Career Decision-making Difficulties Questionnaire (CDDQ) • The Career Decision-making Difficulties Questionnaire (CDDQ) was developed to test this taxonomy and serve as a means for assessing individuals’ career decision-making difficulties • Cronbach Alpha internal consistency estimates: .70-.90 for the 3 major categories, .95 for the total CDDQ score
Empirical Structure of the Difficulties (N= 10,000; 2004) Lack of motivations Indecisiveness Dysfunctional beliefs Lack of info about self Lack of info about process LoI about occupations LoI about addition sources of help Unreliable Information Internal conflicts External conflicts
Computerized Assessment of Career Decision-Making Difficulties • The CDDQ was incorporated into a career-related self-help-oriented free of charge Internet site (www.cddq.org). • Research has shown that the Internet and the paper-and-pencil versions of the CDDQ are equivalent (Gati & Saka, 2001; Kleiman & Gati, 2004). • The CDDQ was found suitable for different countries and cultures and has been translated into 18 languages.
Interpreting the CDDQ results • Measuring career decision-making difficulties is not enough – interpretation is very important • Interpretation is part of face-to-face counseling and is crucial for Internet-based assessment of career decision-making difficulties, where no expert counselor is available • The proposed interpretation procedure is aimed at locating the individual’s salient difficulties and recommending ways to deal with them (with added reservations when needed)
The Four Stages of Interpretation • Ascertaining Credibility,using validityitems and the time required to fill out the questionnaire • Estimating Differentiationbased on the standard deviation of the 10 difficulty-scale scores • Locating theSalient,moderate, or negligibledifficulties,based onthe individual's absolute and relative scale scores • Determining the need to addreservationsto the feedback provided (based on doubtful credibility, partial differentiation, or low informativeness)
The 4 Stages of Interpretation 1 Not Credible Evaluating Credibility Doubtful Credible Estimating Differentiation 2 Low Questionable High 3 Locate Salient Difficulties Aggregate Reasons to Add Reservation (RAR) Compute Informativeness (B /W ) B/W < 1 RAR = 3 B/W > 1 RAR ≤ 2 Add Reservation to Feedback Receives Feedback No Feedback 4
Interpreting the CDDQ results • The goal: empirically testing a four-stage model for interpreting the CDDQ profiles of individuals • The interpretation is based on the within-client relative salience of the difficulties as well as their absolute salience, augmented by quality-assurance measures • Career counselors' expert judgments were used to validate the proposed procedures of analyses
5 Studies • Study 1: Ascertaining the Credibility of Responses to the CDDQ, based on validity items • Study 2: Estimating the Differentiation of Responses, based on the SDs of the 10 scale scores • Study 3: Determining the Relative Salience of Difficulties (salient, moderate, negligible) • Study 4: Determining the Need to Add Reservations to the Feedback
Studies 1-4 • Career counselors' expert judgments were used in the four studies for validating the proposed procedures • Method • Participants: career counselors and graduate counseling students • Questionnaires: in studies 1,4 - all possible cases; • in studies 2,3 - responses of 16 actual clients • Results: • High similarity between experts’ and students’ judgments, as well as within-groups judgments • High similarity between the experts’ judgments and the proposed algorithm at each stage
Study 5 – Testing the Applicability of the Proposed Model Method: Analyzing the CDDQ data of four groups (N = 6,192) • Hebrew paper-and-pencil version – 965 university students • Hebrew Internet version - 4030 individuals surfing the Future Directions Internet site (www.kivunim.com) • English paper-and-pencil version - 452 US College students • English Internet version - 745 individuals who filled out the CDDQ on the Internet ( www.cddq.org ) Results: see Figures 3 & 4
Figure 3: The Distribution of the Three Levels of Difficulties (negligible, moderate, salient difficulty) in the Ten Difficulty Categories and in Four Groups(N = 6192; H-Hebrew, E-English, p-paper and pencil, I-Internet) Difficulty category
Conclusions • The incorporation of a middle level of discrimination increases the usefulness of the feedback and decreases the chances and implications of potential errors • Adding reservations when appropriate is essential for providing meaningful feedback and decreasing the chances of misleading conclusions
Among the salient difficulties is “lack of information about the career decision-making process” (4) The Distribution of the Three Levels of Difficulties (negligible, moderate, salient difficulty) in the Ten Difficulty Categories and the Four Groups(N = 6192; H-Hebrew, E-English, p-paper and pencil, I-Internet)
Guidance in the decision-making process • The PIC model (Gati & Asher, 2001) • which separates the career decision- making process into 3 distinct stages: • - Prescreening • - In-depth exploration • - Choice
Prescreening • Goal: Locating a small set (about 7) of promising alternatives that deserve further, in-depth exploration • Method: Sequential Elimination • Locate and prioritize aspects or factors • Explicate within-aspect preferences • Eliminate incompatible alternatives • Check list of promising alternatives • Outcome: A list of verified promising alternatives worth further, in-depth exploration
Steps in Sequential Elimination Locating and prioritizing aspects or factors Explicate within-factor preferences in the most important factor not yet considered • Eliminate incompatible alternatives yes • Too many promising alternatives? no • This is the recommended list of occupations • worth further, in-depth exploration
A Schematic Presentation of theSequential Elimination Process (within aspects, across alternatives) Potential Alternatives 1 2 3 4 . . . . N Aspects a (most important) b (second in importance) c . n Promising Alternatives
In-depth exploration • Goal: Locating alternatives that are not only promising but indeed suitable for the individual. • Method: collecting additional information, focusing on one promising occupation at a time: • Is the occupation INDEED suitable for me? • verifying compatibility with one’s preferences in the most important aspects • considering compatibility within the less important aspects • Am I suitable for the occupation? • probability of actualization: previous studies, grades, achievements • fit with the core aspects of the occupation • Outcome: A few most suitable alternatives (about 3-4)
Choice • Goal: Choosing the most suitable alternative, and rank-ordering additional, second-best alternatives • Method: • comparing and evaluating the suitable alternatives • pinpointing the most suitable one • Am I likely to activate it? • if not - selecting second-best alternative(s) • if yes - Am I confident in my choice? • if not: Return to In-depth exploration stage • if yes: Done! • Outcome: The best alternative or a rank-order of the best alternatives
Still… • Career decision-making requires collecting a vast amount of information • Complex information-processing is needed But luckily, information and communication technologies are available • The use of a computer-assisted career guidance system based on a theoretical model can help overcome human cognitive limitations • There are several computer-assisted career guidance systems available, most of them on the Internet
However, although Internet-based, career-related self-help sites are flourishing, these sites, as well as “stand-alone” computer-assisted career-guidance systems, vary greatly in quality. Hence, it is very important to investigate the utility and validity of these self-help programs.
MBCD Making Better Career Decisions MBCD is an Internet-based career planning system that is a unique combination of • a career-information system • a decision-making support system • an expert system Based on the rationale of the PIC model, MBCDisdesigned to help deliberating individuals make better career decisions
MBCD–Goals • Advancing the user’s career decision-making by locating a small set of promising occupational alternatives on which s/he may focus and collect more detailed information. • Increasing the user’s readiness and motivation to make a career decision. • Presenting a practical model of career decision-making that can be implemented in future career decisions as well as other decisions.
MBCD–System’s Features • Prescreening Promising alternatives are located using the Sequential-Elimination model (Gati, 1986), which takes into consideration those career aspects that are most important to the counselee. • MBCD includes 28 career factors
MBCD’s Key Features (cont.) • Eliciting both facets of the individual’s preferences:(a) the optimal level (b) additional levels that the user regards as acceptable (reflecting the user’s willingness to compromise)
MBCD’s Key Features (cont.) • Each occupation is characterized by a range of levels within each aspect, reflecting the within-occupation variance. • The system provides detailed feedback and recommendations according to the user’s input and its effect on the search results. • The dialogue is flexible and the users can change their responses at any point.
MBCD’s Key Features (cont.) • Promising alternatives are located by the Sequential-Elimination search model (Gati, 1986). • But the user can also use a compensatory-model-based search.
Compensatory model-based search • Goal – locating the most compatible occupations • Rationale - advantages of occupations may compensate for their disadvantages • Steps of the compensatory search Locate gaps between preferences and the characteristics of the occupation for each factor Sum the gaps, weighted by importance of factors Locate occupations with minimal sum of gaps
The Conjunction of the Two Lists Users are advised to focus on the occupations that were included in the recommended list of both search models in the in-depth exploration Sequential elimination-based list Compensation-based list Conjunction list