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How to do a Modelling Project - Section 5

Stage 2: Gathering information from your exemplars

Types and reliability of information

It is important to distinguish between different types of information gathered from the exemplar. The following five are in descending order of reliability of information:

i. Observed behaviour with sufficient repetitions to indicate a pattern

ii. Observed behaviour with insufficient repetitions to indicate a pattern

iii. 'Relived' descriptions or role-playing by the exemplar of what they do

iv. Explanation by the exemplar (i.e. the exemplar's conscious model of what they do)

v. Second-hand descriptions*

* Sometimes, the experiences of those who interact with the exemplar are valuable, e.g. Cricket Kemp and Caitlin Walker modelled teachers who were especially adept at working in multi-cultural classrooms. Some of the key pieces of their model came from interviewing the pupils.

Ways to gather information

The general rule is, the closer (and more often) you get to observe the exemplar achieving the results in their 'natural habitat' the better

  • 'Live' observation of exemplar achieving their results (by 3rd position observation and/or 2nd position shadowing)
  • Video/audio tapes, or material written by the exemplar that demonstrates achieving the required results
  • Face-to-face interview
  • Role-plays and mini-scenarios
  • Questionnaires
  • 'Unofficial' observations
  • Written information edited or co-written by someone else
  • Description by someone else, e.g. biography.

While gathering information it is preferable that you have first-hand examples of the exemplar's behaviour-in-context so that your questions are asked from within the frames and logic of the exemplar's experience.

High-quality modelling questions tend to:

  • Relate to the project outcome
  • Make minimal presuppositions about the content of the exemplar's map
  • Be short and contain a minimal number of non-exemplar words
  • Be simple and ask for one class of experience at a time
  • Invite the exemplar to remain in the appropriate state to demonstrate what they do, i.e. in the 'perceptual present'
  • Not ask the exemplar's attention to jump too far (in space or time)
  • Not get 'no' or disagreement for an answer.
  • Start from what the exemplar consciously knows, move towards the boundary of what is already known, before stretching that boundary into areas of the yet-to-be-aware-of (i.e. tacit knowledge).

A Modeller's Perspective

One vital aspect of modelling rarely made explicit is the perspective adopted by the modeller when modelling an exemplar for an ability or pattern of behaviour. There are a surprisingly large number of modeller perspectives to choose from. This blog describes six: A Modeller's Perspective [added Feb 2014].

Traditional Modelling Questions

Every question directs the exemplar's attention to some where, when or what in their mindbody map. So it is vital to consider:

  • What kind of information am I going for?
  • Where does the exemplar's attention need to go to access that information?
  • How simply [cleanly] can I ask for that information?
  • Did I get the kind of information I was going for?
The following are examples of some commonly used modelling questions:

Identifying How do you know …?
Where do you ...? 
When do you ...? 
Under what circumstances do you ... / does ... happen?
For what purpose do you ...?
How do you normally go about ...?
How specifically do you do …?
What's the first thing you do …?
Then what do you do?
What do you do next? 
What do you need to do to …?
How do you know you are (achieving) …?
How do you know you have (achieved) …?
What let's you know to ...? 
What do you see, hear and/or feel that lets you know …?
What's important to you about …?
What makes it possible for you to …?
What does … lead to or make possible?
What do you do if it doesn't go well / doesn't work?
How do you know to stop trying to (achieve) …?
Under what circumstances would you not ...?

In addition to the above, David Grove’s Clean Language is ideal for modelling because it …

  • Makes maximum use of an exemplar’s terminology.
  • Conforms to the logic and presuppositions of an exemplar’s constructs.
  • Only introduces ‘universal’ metaphors of form, space and time.
  • Only use nonverbals congruent with an exemplar’s nonverbals. 

Basic Clean Language modelling questions

[  ] = Exemplar's exact words

Identify And how do you know [  ]?
And that's [  ] like what?
Develop Form
And what kind of [  ] is that [  ]?
And is there anything else about [  ]?
And where/whereabouts is [  ]?
Relate over Time
And what happens just before [event]?
And then what happens? or And what happens next?
Relate across Space
And when/as [X], what happens to [Y]?

Specialised Clean Language modelling questions
used only when the logic of a client’s metaphor permits:

Identify And what determines whether [X] or [Y]?
And what needs to happen for [event]? 
And is there anything else that needs to happen for [event]?
Develop Form
And what happening [location/event]? 
And does [an 'it'] have a size or a shape? 
And how many [group] are there? 
And in which direction is/does [movement]?
And where is [perceiver] [perceiving word] that from?
Relate over
Time/across Space
And where does [  ] come from? 
And is [X] the same or different as/to [Y]? 
And is there a relationship between [X] and [Y]? 
And what's between [X] and [Y]?
And what happens between [event X] and [event Y]?
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