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Making Sound Decisions with SCOPED

Worrying and debating endlessly over a decision may become a thing of the past with SCOPED (Situation Choices Objectives People Evaluation Decision). From choosing where to live to choosing what career to pursue, SCOPED has all those critical and life changing decisions covered. 

SCOPED is the decision making process constructed by Dr. Jeff Belkora, an Associate Professor at UC San Francisco. Belkora is a decision scientist with a Ph.D in Systems Engineering and a focus on decisions and analyses. He was able to develop the SCOPED system when working with colleagues in the medical field and using checklists to aid patients making critical decisions. 

Belkora currently teaches this method to interns to accompany and aid patients, but is promoting the adaptation of SCOPED as a common and accepted form of establishing decisions—and is doing so by introducing it to students here at UC Merced.

His reasoning is that SCOPED is incredibly simple, yet is still a valuable tool in making decisions, through its use of the five decision drivers and four strategies. The five decision drivers are: Somatic, the physical driver; Social, the decisions influenced by others; Spiritual, the decisions driven by beliefs; Soulful, the decisions based on self-image; and Scientific, the decisions based on rational analysis. 

The four strategies include: thinking, talking, reading and writing. Alone, each one of these strategies or drivers could lead to potentially poor decisions. Together, however, one can make the smart and absolute best decision with greater ease.

The SCOPED process accomplishes this by first looking at the Situation, or in other words, what factors invoked the decision. After the Situation is clear, the Choices are then laid out, followed by the Objectives of the decision. 

The next step is called People, and includes considering a list of people who are affected by the decision, have insight on the decision, and/or have a say in the decision. 

Afterward, the choices and objectives go through Evaluation to ensure the possible outcome of every decision, and whether or not a certain decision accomplishes the named objectives. Through extensive evaluation, the Decision will be reached.

As simple as this process may be, it can help make the most vital decisions. At the end of Belkora’s presentation, students found the process a valuable aid in validating past decisions, finding flaws in decisions, consulting others making decisions, and making faster decisions.

While SCOPED is a “portable process that can be applied to several areas,” according to Dr. Belkora, he also commented that the SCOPED process can be of even greater use in majors and fields such as Psychology, Sociology, and Pre-Health, where decisions involving several people are common and necessary. 

To learn more, visit www.scoped.org and begin making smarter decisions. While SCOPED has been widely tested and has had abundant positive feedback, more users of the decision making system are vital to its perfection and growth.