Given a data set about an individual or group (e.g., interviewer ratings, life history or demographic
facts, test results, self-descriptions), there are two modes of data combination for a predictive or
diagnostic purpose. The clinical method relies on human judgment that is based on informal
contemplation and, sometimes, discussion with others (e.g., case conferences). The mechanical
method involves a formal, algorithmic, objective procedure (e.g., equation) to reach the decision.