Supporting people to make sense of stories, observations from practice and other data can be facilitated by using the collaborative sense making tool. The sense-making tool is comprised of a number of prompts or phrases including:

Risking it, Recurring theme, Almost Unmentionable, It’s Complicated, Surprises, Unfinished business, Diverse views, Hallelujah, Hot topic, Previously hidden.

The tool has the potential to be used in a variety of ways including:

  • As a visual tool to prompt storytelling
  • As a co-analysis tool, through theming data under the headings
  • As a catalyst for idea generation and discussion
  • As a reflective tool to stimulate self-reflection or group reflection

The How

  • As a visual tool to prompt storytelling

Present the prompts either by laying them out on a table or putting as a wall display. Ask people to consider the experience of caring for a person with a dementia and use the prompts to stimulate different aspects of their experience/story.

One person told a story using the following prompts:

Almost unmentionable – I find it really hard to communicate with a person with advanced dementia – I never know if I am saying the right thing. I remember one time I had said to a patient that her husband was no longer alive – as she kept on talking about him as if he was here. She became really upset and other staff frowned on me. I wish I knew more about how to be with these people.

  • As a co-analysis tool, through theming data under the headings

In the discover phase of appreciative inquiry you may have a great deal of data from observations, stories and other feedback. It can be useful to read through the data as a whole and then theme the data under the headings in the collaborative sense making tool.

  • As a catalyst for idea generation and discussion
  • As a reflective tool to stimulate self-reflection or group reflection

Resources to download

Collaborative Sense Making Tool