[R] Using choiceDes Package to Design MaxDiff?

Vik Rubenfeld vik at vlr.cc
Thu Mar 12 21:19:56 CET 2015

I’m seeking to design a MaxDiff experiment that will have a number of blocks of this type:

Which of these items is the
most important?

Which of these items is the 
least important?

Item 1
Item 2
Item 3
Item 4

I’m seeking to use the choiceDes package <http://cran.r-project.org/web/packages/choiceDes/choiceDes.pdf> to design the experiment. The relevant function is tradeoff.des. Usage:

tradeoff.des(items, shown, vers, tasks, fname=NULL, Rd=20, Rc=NULL, print=TRUE)

I believe I understand the items, shown and vers parameters:
items: number of total items in the experiment
show: number of items shown per block
vers: number of blocks
...but I’m not quite sure what the tasks parameter is yet. For example, let’s say I have 20 items total in the study. I want to show 4 items per block, with 10 blocks total. I enter:

tempDes <- tradeoff.des(20, 4, 10, 2, "tempDesign.txt", 20, NULL, TRUE)

…hoping that the 2 is the number of questions (most important/least important) per block. I get an error:

Error in optBlock(~., des.d, rep(tasks, vers), nRepeats = Rd) : 
  The number of withinData rows is not large enough to support the blocked model.

If I put the number of blocks up to 50:

 tempDes <- tradeoff.des(20, 4, 50, 2, "tempDesign.txt", 20, NULL, TRUE)

…I get the same error. 

What is the correct way to use choiceDes to design a MaxDiff experiment of this kind?

Thanks very much in advance to all for any thoughts or info!



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