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dot voting 
vs. 
idea rating 
sheets
Both are tools to help groups recognize 
their collective opinions 
dot voting idea rating sheets
dot voting 
• Participants are each given a 
set number of dot stickers 
• They place dot stickers next 
to statements the...
idea rating sheets 
• Participants write their own statements, one idea per sheet 
• Use pens to fill-in one dot per sheet...
idea rating sheets 
• Participants write their own statements, one idea per sheet 
• Use pens to fill-in one dot per sheet...
Dot voting & idea rating sheets are similar 
• Both are easy and fun to use 
• Both work well with children and adults 
• ...
What’s the difference?
idea rating sheets 
are smarter than 
dot voting 
Here is why…
Dot voting: Is a cumulative voting method 
Works fine for prioritizing 
between a few distinct 
options, like in elections...
It’s just a one question multiple-choice survey done with stickers 
= 
Dot voting:
Dot voting: limits creativity 
and diversity of ideas 
Too many options 
become impossible to 
compare 
Psychologists call...
Dot voting: limits creativity 
and diversity of ideas 
Can not add new ideas once voting has started
Dot voting: can give confusing or false results 
Vote-splitting causes related ideas to lose unfairly 
12 out of 18 
peopl...
Dot voting: can give confusing or false results 
You can not tell if 
someone has 
cheated by removing 
stickers or adding...
idea rating sheets are sophisticated 
It’s like idea rating software on paper 
(aka “crowdsourcing”)
idea rating sheets are sophisticated 
Opinion research 
standard Likert scale 
Business planning best 
practice SWOT analy...
idea rating sheets are sophisticated 
Anyone can 
add new ideas 
at any time
idea rating sheets are sophisticated 
No limit on the number of 
ideas presented 
Participants only need to 
consider one ...
idea rating sheets are sophisticated 
Easily recognize levels of agreement or conflict
idea rating sheets are sophisticated 
No vote-splitting, so similar ideas are not penalized 
most 
preferred 
most 
object...
idea rating sheets are sophisticated 
The number of 
signatures validates 
the number of dots 
Optional comments 
gives so...
Who uses idea rating sheets? 
Over 4,000 international subscribers: 
professional facilitators, educators, committee chair...
Get the sheets, instructions and 
facilitator’s handbook 
for free at: 
IdeaRatingSheets.org
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Dot Voting vs. Idea Rating Sheets

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Dot voting is a popular tool for recognizing group preferences, but it has its flaws. Idea rating sheets are a smarter tool to use for large group decision-making. This presentation explains why.

Dot Voting vs. Idea Rating Sheets

  1. 1. dot voting vs. idea rating sheets
  2. 2. Both are tools to help groups recognize their collective opinions dot voting idea rating sheets
  3. 3. dot voting • Participants are each given a set number of dot stickers • They place dot stickers next to statements they like • Statements with the most dots “win”
  4. 4. idea rating sheets • Participants write their own statements, one idea per sheet • Use pens to fill-in one dot per sheet to rate their level of agreement
  5. 5. idea rating sheets • Participants write their own statements, one idea per sheet • Use pens to fill-in one dot per sheet to rate their level of agreement • Results show the degree of support or conflict on every idea
  6. 6. Dot voting & idea rating sheets are similar • Both are easy and fun to use • Both work well with children and adults • Both provide equal opportunity participation • Both work with a large number of participants • Both can be used in or outside of meetings • Both give visual results
  7. 7. What’s the difference?
  8. 8. idea rating sheets are smarter than dot voting Here is why…
  9. 9. Dot voting: Is a cumulative voting method Works fine for prioritizing between a few distinct options, like in elections. Reliable when done with ballots or online – less so with stickers. Not effective for prioritizing among many ideas…
  10. 10. It’s just a one question multiple-choice survey done with stickers = Dot voting:
  11. 11. Dot voting: limits creativity and diversity of ideas Too many options become impossible to compare Psychologists call this “choice overload”
  12. 12. Dot voting: limits creativity and diversity of ideas Can not add new ideas once voting has started
  13. 13. Dot voting: can give confusing or false results Vote-splitting causes related ideas to lose unfairly 12 out of 18 people wanted vegetarian but vote-splitting caused meat to win
  14. 14. Dot voting: can give confusing or false results You can not tell if someone has cheated by removing stickers or adding extra dots
  15. 15. idea rating sheets are sophisticated It’s like idea rating software on paper (aka “crowdsourcing”)
  16. 16. idea rating sheets are sophisticated Opinion research standard Likert scale Business planning best practice SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, & Threats)
  17. 17. idea rating sheets are sophisticated Anyone can add new ideas at any time
  18. 18. idea rating sheets are sophisticated No limit on the number of ideas presented Participants only need to consider one idea at time Can rate as many or as few ideas as they choose
  19. 19. idea rating sheets are sophisticated Easily recognize levels of agreement or conflict
  20. 20. idea rating sheets are sophisticated No vote-splitting, so similar ideas are not penalized most preferred most objection
  21. 21. idea rating sheets are sophisticated The number of signatures validates the number of dots Optional comments gives some insight into dotting opinions
  22. 22. Who uses idea rating sheets? Over 4,000 international subscribers: professional facilitators, educators, committee chairs, business managers, & community and organization leaders Facilitators Survey (2012)
  23. 23. Get the sheets, instructions and facilitator’s handbook for free at: IdeaRatingSheets.org
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Dot voting is a popular tool for recognizing group preferences, but it has its flaws. Idea rating sheets are a smarter tool to use for large group decision-making. This presentation explains why.

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