SenseMaker: Using Micro-Narratives for Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning
IDS Convening Space
SenseMaker is an innovative narrative-based research, monitoring and decision-making methodology. It is designed to help generate actionable insights and guide interventions in complex systems and processes. SenseMaker recognises that narratives may allow better access to contextualised knowledge and interpretation by enabling respondents to analyse and give meaning to their own stories.
The method is developed by Cognitive Edge and enables users to gather and analyse large amounts of stories from people. It invites respondents to self-interpret their anecdotes, experiences or stories through a set of follow-up questions at the point of origin. The responses to these questions can be used for visualisation of patterns and for quantitative analysis backed with explanatory narratives. It is specifically developed to understand reality – through the eyes of the people – to act in it. SenseMaker can be used as a standalone method, or in combination with other more conventional assessment, monitoring, evaluation or research approaches.
SenseMaker is particularly useful for programmes that:
- Aim to deal with complexity and understand emergent patterns and trends in real time;
- Need to capture the voice and the realities of people on the ground;
- Work with sensitive or taboo issues;
- Are looking to measure and understand the less tangible aspects of issues such as sustainability, gender, inclusion, resilience, etc.
Steff Deprez will present the principles and practice of the SenseMaker methodology and provide examples of SenseMaker applications in diverse programmes for both monitoring and evaluation processes.
About the speaker
Steff is an independent consultant specialised in the design and roll-out of learning-oriented monitoring processes and systems. He worked as an international development practitioner for 16 years and has a vast experience in the use of complexity-aware methods such as Outcome Mapping, Outcome Harvesting and SenseMaker. He applied SenseMaker since 2012 in various countries and for different purposes (action research, periodic monitoring and evaluations).
Steff provides practical SenseMaker courses and supports SenseMaker projects for international NGOs, social enterprises and government institutions (Flemish Government, CRS, Rikolto, CARE, IFAD, GirlHub, The European Social Fund, Via Don Bosco, Oxfam GB and Durabilis). In 2016, he developed a SenseMaker-based Inclusive Business Scan supporting companies, farming organisations and service providers in their inclusive smallholder supply chains.