Okay, let me start off by saying I think that Dervin is a terrible writer. She writes the introduction to the article like an operating manual for an industrial plant. Then, she defines the term sense-making, by using the terms “sense” and “sense-making” (62, 63). I decided to wikipedia it. Thank goodness I did!
Sadly, this was the only way I was able to have any kind of comprehension with which to move forward in reading this article. When I got deeper into the article, it became more comprehensible, but remember, I had my wikipedia definition in hand. I believe that definitely colored my ability to process the article better. Look at that! I am “sense-making” all ready.
All of our assumptions, biases, and questions will be based on our perceptions, experiences, and feelings about the world around us. Accuracy is a tricky thing in human hands, as we are not machines just computing data. Our visions is skewed by the fact that we are thinking, feeling beings. Our “truths” cannot be trusted without careful guidelines.
“...individual behavior is at worst chaotic and at best capricious and recalcitrant. In fact though, it may be quite systematic if studied from a process perspective.” (65-6) While it seems as if there is no order to the madness of human behavior and interactions, when studied methodically, it is possible to discern some method to the madness. This is what I believe Dervin was trying to get at.
The question of how we make sense and give meaning to experience is quite a fascinating one. This article killed the possibility of the beautiful conversation that could be had around that with dry and procedural language, diagrams and flow charts.
If I were teaching this to a high schooler, I would explain it in a more experiential, hands on, sense-making activity. I would pose a series of questions about a new/ambiguous situation. I would have them answer the questions on their own. Then, answer the questions as a group. Finally, we would discuss what was similar and different By doing this, it demonstrates Dervin’s points that while behavior seems unpredictable, there are patterns and order to the madness.
My questions would be: