Sense-Making vs. Sense-Unmaking

One widely acclaimed methodology in information science is Dervin’s “Sense Making Methodolgy” (SMM). It is very similar to the way people often think about “storytelling”:

Because communication is embodied and learned in impositional and constraining structures (families, communities, cultures, societies), SMM assumes that most spontaneous communication is, in fact, not spontaneous. Rather, spontaneity in communication invites habitual repetition of hegemony and habitus. Interrupting this usual-ness requires a different kind of interviewing — one based on verbs rather than nouns; one that allows for articulation time and conscientizing; one that gives individuals safety for expressing what they “really” think, feel, do, imagine; one that gives informants freedom to be variable, to be sometimes clear and sometimes muddled; sometimes very cognitive, sometimes emotional, sometimes both at the same time.

SENSE-MAKING METHODOLOGY AS EXEMPLAR by © 2008, Brenda Dervin, School of Communication, Ohio State University, USA , page 13 ]

In Professor Dervin’s approach, information is seen as the act of reducing uncertainty. The opposite — increasing uncertainty — would therefore be interpreted as something like misinformation or disinformation.

Yet what if we — for example — remove the certainty that God exists? What if people believe a myth to be certainly true, and we remove that notion of truth?

According to Dervin’s views, we would have robbed them the happiness of being confident that their beliefs are true — and in increasing their uncertainty, they would feel less well-informed.

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