Columbus, Ohio

The Sense-Making Methodology Approach to Interviewing for Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis

Full Day Seminar, Friday, Oct. 24, 2008, 9:00am-5:00pm (separate fee)

In response to requests by members of the ASIS&T community, the purpose of this workshop would be to make available to ASIS&T members at a convenient location an intensive one-day workshop that will zero specifically in on the interviewing methods that are informed by Dervin's Sense-Making Methodology (SMM) as an approach to studying users and potential users (by whatever names they may be called: users, patrons, patients, clients, customers, employees, citizens, audience members, participants, and so on).

The workshop will provide a general overview of the Methodology emphasizing, in particular, it's use in interviewing. The core questions to be addressed include:

It goes without saying that designing systems and practices that serve user needs is central to the core foci of many ASIS&T members. In this context, "understanding" users is an especial requisite. At the 2007 ASIS&T meeting, a rough count of program listings showed that fully 50% of paper/panel sessions and 50% of poster presentations involved at least some attention to:
a) users (intended and actual) and user behavior, and b) secondary or primary reporting of research results coming from studies that at least in part "interviewed" users.

The purpose of this workshop will be to provide attendees with an intensive one-day introduction to Dervin's Sense-Making Methodology specifically as it applies to interviewing.
Topics to be covered include those listed below. Those with * will be core focus.

Sense-Making Methodology for studying communication communicatively. The requirements of a genuinely communicative approach to studying communication communicatively.

Beyond metatheory and beyond method: What being methodological means.

Why we are constrained by how most qualitative approaches adduce method to metatheory; and most quantitative approaches reduce method to statistics and variable analytic operationalizations.

*Dervin's Sense-Making Methodology interviewing approach: Where it comes from and why it is the way it is. A brief presentation of the metatheoretic assumptions on which the interviewing approach is based and how these once understood provide a theory of interviewing method.

*Sense-Making questionning: The mandated foci -- time, space, movement, gaps, outcomes, power, energy, flexibilty and inflexibility, constancy and change, outcomes, helps, hindrances, impacts. How and when to use them.

*The different approaches to Sense-Making interviewing: Micro-Moment Time-Line, Life-Line, Micro-Mioment Micro-Element, Help Chaining, Q/uing, Sense-Making Journaling, Sense-Making On-The-Fly

*The issue of Sense-Making interviewing depth: Why and how. Sense-Making Triangulation Levels 1 and 2.

*Different interviewing contexts: Self-administered, survey, phone, in-person, instant messaging, group.

*Systematizing the qualitative in Sense-Making interviewing: Using systematic qualitative coverage in interviewing protocols. Incorporating quantitative anchors.

Beyond interviewing: The mandates from Sense-Making Methodology for research analytics. Uses and potential abuses of predictive, descriptive, and explanatory analyses. Why stat is not the enemy. Why stat is neither method recipe nor methodology. Being qualitative, being quantitative, being both.

Beyond data and analyses: The utilities of being critical…dialogic…utopian.



Brenda Dervin is Full Professor of Communication and Joan N. Huber Fellow in Social and Behavioral Sciences at Ohio State University. She holds a 1972 PhD in communication research from Michigan State University and an honorary PhD in social sciences from the University of Helsinki. She was the 2006 recipient of the ASIST Research Award. Her work has received more than 1700 "hits" in ISI journals as of the end of 2007. Her writings are most well known for serving as a call for user-oriented user studies and for advancing her Sense-Making Methodology for studying users and audiences (by whatever names they may be called) communicatively in any context. Most used applications of her methodology include a broad spectrum of interviewing approaches (e.g. focus groups, surveys, in-depth qualitative interviews, self-administered, web-based) in contexts such as information seeking and use studies, human computer interaction, web and software design, health communication, citizen participation, and development communication. These applications are set within a methodology that has deep metatheoretic roots in philosophic and theoretic discourses that inform research design, execution, and analysis. She has conducted many workshops for researchers, policy makers, and practitioners. 


Members $255, non-members $285, before Sept. 12, 2008
Members $285, non-members $315, after Sept. 12, 2008