This week, we were assigned an article to read: “From the Mind’s Eye of the User: The Sense-Making Qualitative-Quantitative Methodology” by Brenda Dervin. I found it so hilariously ironic that this article was about sense-making, yet I struggled to no end in making any kind of sense out of the article itself.
At first, I thought I would tackle this right away and get the assignment out of the way. I read the first page or so about 5 times and then put it away. I tried the first few pages again, then put it away again and did as much as I could on all the other assignments. I searched some images. I searched some reviews. I read the subtitles and looked at all the graphics. Then I used my day off to hunker down and push through it. As I read, I asked myself the following questions (apparently a very important part of sense-making):
-Is this about database construction?
-Is this about research?
-Is this about meta-reality?
-Is this about psychology?
-Is this about sociology?
Although there were sections of the article that seemed to quickly veer off into a different direction, I think the author’s overall intention was to explain the process of sense-making, and perhaps its potential value to research. As I read, to help myself remember things that I actually understood, I highlighted and took notes. The main theme I was able to identify was the description of the sense-making process. Sense-making is an individual process that humans use to gain information, solve problems, understand. Each person constructs their own understanding through this process that is unique to his/her own experience. Each path to each new understanding is as different as a snowflake.
In my search for images, I chose the simplest one I could find:
Image taken from: http://www.cios.org/EJCPUBLIC/009/2/009215.html
I like this image because it demonstrates the main idea of the article and because it is clear. This best demonstrates how I bridged the gap between confusion about this article and making sense of it! So very meta. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever read anything as meta as this in my life.
If I had the job of helping high schoolers, or even adults, through this reading, I’d definitely have to read it several more times myself. Perhaps I would read more of her work to gain a better understanding. My first thought is that I would definitely chunk it into small sections and go slow. I would use the image I chose and reflect back on it frequently to reconcile each section to the main idea. I would probably search out articles, videos, podcasts by others on the same topic to see if anyone else was able to explain it more clearly or simply.
I think this process was a great experience for teachers to understand how students might feel when they are asked to read something that is way above their lexile level. Just the fact that I put it off so long because it was difficult helps me sympathize with students who often give up when things get too hard.