Using discrete choice experiments to elicit the service preferences of people with mild intellectual disability: An exploratory study

Claire Hutchinson, Rachel Milte, Mandy Stanley, Gordon Duff, Julie Ratcliffe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in Australia and other similar international movements towards consumer direction have highlighted the importance of including consumers to ensure their service preferences are operationalised. Discrete Choice Experiments (DCEs) are an established method to quantify consumer preferences. The feasibility of using DCEs with people with intellectual disability is largely untested. Consenting participants eligible for disability support services (n = 18) participated in the mixed methods exploratory study. The DCE comprised a series of choices between two hypothetical service providers offering a combination of services relating to social and economic participation (e.g. support with finding and keeping a job), with four levels of service (no service, online support, group support, one to one support). Pictographs and simplified English were used to represent the hypothetical services and levels and a ‘think aloud’ protocol adopted. Most participants (N = 16, 89%) completed the DCE task. The findings from the think aloud task indicated that some participants were weighing up the options and making decisions based on their goals and personal preferences. However, other participants did not focus on all presented attributes and levels when making a decision; a common ‘short-cut’ heuristic also observed in DCE tasks with general population participants. Further research including investigating other DCE techniques, such as best-worst scaling, would be beneficial to identify how preference-elicitation tasks can be developed and applied with people with intellectual disabilities to ensure that future service innovations are designed and administered in ways which best meet their needs and preferences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e1396-e1405
Number of pages10
JournalHealth and Social Care in the Community
Issue number4
Early online date21 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • consumer preferences
  • discrete choice experiments
  • economic participation
  • intellectual disability


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