Is there a word that describes a person who tries to get as much information as possible when making a decision for fear of committing a mistake that might affect both him and others in a negative fashion?

The only word I could think of was indecisive, but it has a connotation that suggests hesitation and irresolution when making decisions, which is not what I'm going for, since I want a sense of absolute commitment when making the decision.

  • 1
    Analysis paralysis. – Dan Bron Sep 13 '14 at 19:05
  • 4
    Methodical might do the job. A lot depends on the context, as usual. – John Lawler Sep 13 '14 at 19:16
  • "Overly cautious" – moonstar Sep 14 '14 at 10:54


skilled in or using analysis especially in thinking or reasoning


characterized by or resulting from careful and thorough consideration

characterized by awareness of the consequences


having, exercising, or characterized by sound judgment

A few more options: rational, prudent, sensible.

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  • +1 I particularly like deliberate, since it is (at least in American jurisprudence) a celebrated retardant of overhasty action: see "with all deliberate speed" in Safire's Political Dictionary, p.815353. – StoneyB on hiatus Sep 13 '14 at 19:41
  • Yes, of the ones I listed, "deliberate" might be the best fit for what the OP describes. I think it's mostly a positive term. Even though it can also be used sarcastically. For example "he is very deliberate" can mean "he's taking way too long to make up his mind" depending on the context, and on how you say it. – Reto Koradi Sep 13 '14 at 19:49
  • Of course anything can be inverted by using it sarcastically; I might have meant '+1' sarcastically (but I assure you I did not). – StoneyB on hiatus Sep 13 '14 at 22:08

I would suggest meticulous.

Meticulous suggests that someone is gathering information to ensure that all details and options are covered. This can be a result of acting methodically or otherwise.

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I'd use circumspect.

adj. watchful and discreet; cautious; prudent: circumspect behavior.

[R H K Webster's]

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Rigorous - "scrupulously accurate, manifesting rigor, done carefully and with a lot of attention to detail" - Usage:"He is rigorous in his control of expenditure".

Painstaking - "expending, showing, or involving diligent care and effort" Usage: "she was always painstaking about her work."

Exhaustive- "comprehensive in scope; thorough: an exhaustive survey." Usage: "He was exhaustive in his search for the necklace".

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Consider scrupulous

(Of a person or process) diligent, thorough, and extremely attentive to details: the research has been carried out with scrupulous attention to detail [Oxford Dictionaries Online]

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  • +1 I immediately thought of thorough and diligent and had always thought of scrupulous as having to do with scruples which I always connect with ethics but the dictionary seems to indicate this is exactly the word OP is looking for. – Jim Sep 14 '14 at 3:38

I suggest: open-minded, ponderous, judicial, sparing, non-judgmental, reserved (as in reserving judgment)

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