When I was young there was a kid in the playground who liked to make up quizzes.
He would come up with ten or so questions (things from his past knowledge and experience) and he would ask us the questions.
But he would play as well, and when he won having answered all of the questions correctly he would celebrate his victory and bask in his cleverness.
Now that I am older I frequently meet people who are doing the same thing – they call it research.
They design a set of questions based on what they think will happen or be observed. These questions come from their prejudices conditioned by their previous experience, knowledge, rules, and models.
This method will never provide you with…
- What’s really happening
- The counter examples to your expectations and prejudices
- Surprises, coincidences or opportunities
- Anything new
One consultant I was working with said, “I knew what the outcome would be before we began the research.” Just like the boy in the playground she was right, of course, which just serves to reinforce the delusion.
There is an alternative approach…