… a core concept used in Policy Analysis and Process and Atlas101

Concept description

Investopedia (reference below) defines heuristics as “a problem-solving method that uses shortcuts to produce good-enough solutions given a limited time frame or deadline.”

It says:

“Heuristics are (sic) a flexibility technique for quick decisions, particularly when working with complex data. Decisions made using an heuristic approach may not necessarily be optimal. Heuristic is derived from the Greek word meaning ‘to discover.’

“Heuristics facilitate timely decisions. Analysts in every industry use rules of thumb such as intelligent guesswork, trial and error, process of elimination, past formulas and the analysis of historical data to solve a problem. Heuristic methods make decision making simpler and faster through short cuts and good-enough calculations.

“There are trade-offs with the use of heuristics that render the approach prone to bias and errors in judgment. The user’s final decision may not be the optimal or best solution, the decision made may be inaccurate and the data selected might be insufficient leading to an imprecise solution to a problem.”

Atlas topic, subject, and course

Models of Decision Making (core topic) in Policy Analysis and Process and Atlas101.


Investopedia, Heuristics, at https://www.investopedia.com/terms/h/heuristics.asp, accessed 5 September 2018.

Page created by: Alec Wreford and Ian Clark, last modified 5 September 2018.

Image: JeremySaid.com, at https://www.jeremysaid.com/blog/heuristics-for-conversion-optimization/, accessed 5 September 2018.