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[vision] "Where do you get that idea? Instead of "why"

I was asked to teach a class on how to do research, and I had about four ideas, and I improvised one of them, and it was interesting, so here it is.

The key to analysis is to infer what you see, which is very different from fantasising about things that don't exist. An example I often use is to show the precipitation and rice cultivation changes in Bali over the last 30 years and ask why some areas are shown in red and others in blue. I may also ask, "What is it about rice cultivation in Bali that you would never see in a developed country?". I did not mention roads or education in these stories, but some people want to bring these stories from somewhere and explain them. It's not analysis. It's a fantasy!

You can do the same thing by showing paintings. For example, you can show them this Munch painting and ask them: "What is the person in the middle doing? Then ask, "Where do you get that idea?

The critical question is, "Where do you get that idea? The answer you want to hear is the same, but by asking "Where do you get that idea?" instead of "Why do you think that?", research has shown that people are more likely to give reasons from what they can actually see, rather than from their imagination.

Practise making inferences from the data in front of you. Painting is a great way to do this, and you'll find that pictures you've only seen in a blur suddenly seem to make sense and open up your world.

There is a book in Japanese that explains how to do this.

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