We learn about the Net-Map method as we go and define it as we use it. One problem we often encountered is: How do we consolidate different views of various interview partners to get to a common network map that describes the situation?
There are quantitative approaches to this, but I am wary about them, not only because they can be rather work intense and complicated but also because of the many assumptions you have to make and the kinds of distortions you get (e.g. one interviewee said A and B are linked, the other one said they are not – it’s likely that the second interviewees perspective is not represented in your combined map…).
For our research about fertilizer policy changes in Nigeria Noora Aberman and I used an approach that seems to be both pragmatic and quite reliable. At least for networks where there are no major conflicts or disagreements amongst interview partners. I’ve written about this when we were in the planning stage and because it worked out so well in the field, I’d like to recommend it again…:
First get a basic understanding of the issue you want to analyze and who might be knowledgeable about it.
Step 1: Interview a diverse mix of stakeholders and experts in individual interviews.
Step 2: Digest the information and draw a map of your new knowledge about this situation gathered through the interviews
Step 3: Invite interview partners and possibly others to a workshop where you introduce this consolidated map and discuss it with the participants as a way of validation.
Filed under: fine-tuning implementation