Sensemaking Explained

At Susan Bell Research we've pioneered a new approach to qualitative research that helps us understand human behaviour in a new way. We call it Sensemaking.  Sensemaking is a framework to use in qualitative research.

Sensemaking brings insight into qualitative research

  • To investigate how people navigate between their own personal beliefs and their social relationships.  In Australia, choosing to become a vegetarian is a good example because it is often a very personal choice which potentially affects that person’s relationship with other people.

  • As a way to come grips with who people make decisions in ambiguous or confusing circumstances. In Australia, how people become retirees (often without choosing to) is a great example.

Three key features of sensemaking interviews:

  1. Sensemaking is a form of ethnography in that the researcher must understand the social, cultural and commercial environment as well as the individual’s thoughts and motivations.

  2. Sensemaking interviews are talk-based. How people talk is how people think.

  3. Sensemaking interviews are about what has happened in the past. To ask about future decisions would be artificial because people often act before they decide.

Find out more:

I will be speaking about sensemaking at some international conferences this year, starting with the QUAL360 2020 conference in Singapore  in April 2020 (now postponed until September 1st-2nd as a virtual conference)

Tags: Qualitative Research , Making sense, sense-making, Retirement decisions

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