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Which clippings match 'Open-ended Questioning' keyword pg.1 of 1
01 FEBRUARY 2015

Free-listing methods to explore user categorisations

"The assumption with semantic domains is that there is something common to people's understanding of that domain. Free–listing is a good way to explore that common understanding.There are two main questions in understanding a semantic domain. The first question is 'What are the contents of the domain, its scope, and its boundaries?' The second question is 'How are the contents structured?' Free–listing is a technique that can help you determine the scope of the domain while providing some insight into how the domain is structured.

Free–listing can be used to understand the contents of a domain. For example, a practitioner designing the information architecture for an online book vendor might need to generate a list of book genres and subgenres. Or the practitioner might already possess a list of genres, but need to verify that the list is exhaustive. Or the goal of free–listing might be to arrange the genres according to centrality or salience in the user's mind.

Free–listing can also serve as a way to gain familiarity with user vocabulary for the domain. As a precursor to cardsorting, it allows you to define and limit the domain in question, and frame card items in the user's own language. Apart from helping in all these situations, free–listing can also serve as a rough proxy for similarity methods, such as cardsorting.

Free–listing might seem similar to open–ended questions about subjective preferences, such as 'What cars do you like?,' but there is an important difference when free–listing is used to explore semantic domains. The assumption with semantic domains is that there is something common to people's understanding of that domain (i.e., user understanding is not completely idiosyncratic). Free–listing is a good way to explore that common understanding of the domain."

(Rashmi Sinha, 24 February 2003, Boxes and Arrows)



A. Kimball Romney • card-sorting • cardsorting • centrality • common understanding • cultural domain analysis • domain understanding • elicitation practices • elicitation techniques • ethnographic methods • exhaustive list • experimental psychology • free pile sort • free-listing • free-listing data • free-listing dataset • free-listing method • free-listing technique • freelisting • general perception • information architecture • interview (design method) • inventories • limit the domain • logical corollary • N. M. Henley • online book vendor • open-ended questioning • participant insights • Rashmi Sinha • rough proxy • Roy DAndrade • salience • scope of the domain • semantic domains • semi-structured interview • semi-structured method • similarity • similarity methods • Stephen Peter Borgatti • subjective preferences • Susan Weller • systematic data collection • user categorisations • user vocabulary • W. D. Barclay • Weston Ashmore Bousfield • Weston Bousfield • William Barclay • written exercise


Simon Perkins
21 FEBRUARY 2013

The Social Constructivist Worldview

"Social constructivism (often combined with interpretivism; see Mertens, 1998) is such a perspective, and it is typically seen as an approach to qualitative research. The ideas came from Mannheim and from works such as Berger and Luekmann's (1967) The Social Construction of Reality and Lincoln and Guba's (1985) Naturalistic Inquiry. More recent writers who have summarized this position are Lincoln and Guba (2000), Schwandt (2007), Neuman (2000), and Crotty (1998), among others. Social constructivists hold assumptions that individuals seek understanding of the world in which they live and work. Individuals develop subjective meanings of their experiences – meanings directed toward certain objects or things. These meanings are varied and multiple, leading the researcher to look for the complexity of views rather than narrowing meanings into a few categories or ideas. The goal of the research is to rely as much as possible on the participants' views of the situation being studied. The questions become broad and general so that the participants can construct the meaning of a situation, typically forged in discussions or interactions with other persons. The more open–ended the questioning, the better, as the researcher listens carefully to what people say or do in their life settings. Often these subjective meanings are negotiated socially and historically. They are not simply imprinted on individuals but are formed through interaction with others (hence social constructivism) and through historical and cultural norms that operate in individuals' lives. Thus, constructivist researchers often address the processes of interaction among individuals. They also focus on the specific contexts in which people live and work, in order to understand the historical and cultural settings of the participants. Researchers recognize that their own backgrounds shape their interpretation, and they position themselves in the research to acknowledge how their interpretation flows from their personal, cultural, and historical experiences. The researcher's intent is to make sense of (or interpret) the meanings others have about the world. Rather than starting with a theory (as in postpostivism), inquirers generate or inductively develop a theory or pattern of meaning."

(John Creswell, 2003)

John Creswell (2003). "Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches". (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publication.


complexity of views • constructivist researcher • cultural experiences • Donna Mertens • Egon Guba • historical and cultural norms • historical and cultural settings • historical experiences • imprinted on individuals • interaction among individuals • interaction with othersinterpret meaningsinterpretationinterpretivismJohn CreswellKarl Mannheim • life contexts • life settings • Michael Crottyopen-ended questioningopen-ended questions • pattern of meaning • Peter Berger • postpostivism • qualitative researchsocial constructivismsocial science • subjective meanings • theory of meaning • Thomas Luckmann • Thomas Schwandt • William Neuman • work contextsYvonna Lincoln


Simon Perkins

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