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6.3. Case Study

To illustrate the approach, in this section we consider an application of the online CNET tool. The application concerns the measurement and analysis of MRs in the context of an activity-travel choice task where the availability of an online shopping alternative is varied to investigate the impact on the way individuals represent the choice alternatives. In this section, we first describe the choice task and experimental design used in this application and next we discuss the characteristics of the sample and analysis results.

6.3.1. Choice Task and Experimental Design

In order to collect data on mental representations with online CNET an activity- travel task has been chosen which was believed to be a familiar decision problem for respondents. It consisted of a scheduling task for working and grocery shopping on a usual workday. A Active environment has been chosen in order to prevent that respondents apply their routine behaviour. When starting an online CNET session general information about the activity-travel task was provided and the alternatives for time moment of grocery shopping (during lunch break, after work, in the evening) were introduced. A map of the Active city with images for home and work place gave visual support. Accordingly, the available shopping locations were presented. Again, visual images of the shopping locations on the map were given for a better orientation. Finally, the available transport modes (represented by images for car, bicycle and bus) with general information on travel times were introduced.

To investigate the impact of choice-set composition on MRs, two variants of the choice task (scenarios) are considered: a scenario where an online shopping alternative is available and a scenario where such an alternative is not available. Hence, the variation of the choice set for the shopping alternatives led to the set up of a basic scenario with three shopping alternatives (week market, corner store and supermarket) and an e-commerce scenario (week market, corner store, supermarket, online shopping). All other elements of the setting remained unchanged.

 
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