Search form

Ask an Advisor Answers

my Name is Hanna and I'm currently writing my master thesis about facade greening at schools. The main part will be a constellation analysis to identify actors, their interdependencies and aspects/ obstacles which curretly interfere a wider implementation. After conducting expertinterviews with all actors I would like to diskuss the finalizes draft of the constellation analysis with the actors and at the same time create a closer understanding for one another and their perspective. There will be an action day from another project where all actors will be invited, but i only have a small timeframe to discuss my draft. So im struggeling with the choice of the right participation format/ discussion method. I was already considering a fishbowl, but it might be not the best choise as there are different dominances of actors like for example employees and their superiors, Due to the time shortage i also thought about a whiteboard to present the draft and collect feedback via an online tool, but in this case the discussion between the actors and the exchange will be lost. I would be very greatful for any kind of advise! Best regards, hanna

            Thank you for writing to us at the Community Tool Box with your question.  We think we understand the choices you need to make, and in this case we agree that your choice may not be an easy one.
            Normally, we do believe in the great value of in-person discussion, because that is where the impact of your research is likely to be generated and felt. That is, you probably want the actors to incorporate  what they have learned into their everyday work after you have left the scene, and it helps if when they can collectively agree, face to face, to adopt or re-affirm certain practices, standards, or values.
          But we also understand your point about different dominances of the actors.  Are these strong enough to seriously inhibit the open discussion you want?  On that point, you would know better than we do. We can’t judge this from here.
           If you do use an open discussion method like the fishbowl, would it help if people were prepared and encouraged in advance to speak freely on this occasion, to accept any critical comments that might be made as part of the process, and to set the stage in advance for an open discussion?  We’re not sure. In any case, creating a climate for open discussion is a good idea.
       On the other hand, if you feel the effect of different dominances would be so strong as to significantly prevent open discussion, that would be a reason for using an online data collection method such as the whiteboard you mention, even though, as you say, the open discussion would be lost.
       But is there another option?  We also wonder if you might find a way to  combine your methods, such as by presenting the whiteboard material first, collecting online reactions, and then sharing the results of that data collection in an open in-person discussion. Would that be possible within the time frame you have?
            We hope some of these thoughts may be helpful to you. Thanks again for being in touch, and we send all best wishes for success with your project work and thesis.

Question Date: Wed, 08/09/2023