Paired Comparison Activity

Prepared by:

Joseph Malkevitch
Department of Mathematics
York College (CUNY)
Jamaica, New York 11451


web page:

Suppose your feelings about fruit are being explored. Which fruits do you like more or less than other fruits. This is your "task." Given a pair of fruits you have to decide which of the two fruits you prefer to the other.


Banana and Apple

If you prefer a banana to an apple you write B > A and if you prefer an apple to a banana your write A > B.  You are not allowed to throw up your hands and say you like them equally. You are not allowed to say I have never heard of these fruit and I can not compare them. You can not say, I prefer a granny smith apple to a green grape but I prefer a red grape to a granny smith apple. The rules of this "game" are that you must decide which you like better for each pair, hopefully, based on your true and honest feelings.

Here are the fruits to consider:


Question 1:

To compare the fruits above in pairs, how many comparisons will you have to carry out?

Question 2:

Carry out the task of making all the required comparisons!

Question 3:

Based on the data you produced, which fruit is your most favorite?

Question 4:

Based on the data you produced, which fruit is your least favorite?

Question 5:

Use a directed graph (digraph) to represent the data you produced?

Question 6:

Is there a way to use the digraph you produced in Question 5 to determine you most favorite and least favorite fruits?

Question 7:

Based on the data you produced, can you produce a "ranking" of the seven fruits? That is, are you able to say which fruit you liked best, which you liked second best, ...., which fruit you liked least?

Question 8:

Give examples of "applied" situations where in essence the same task is being required but the ranking and paired comparisons involve something other than fruit.