Slide 3 of 9
For example, say a researcher were interested in comparing the conceptual space occupied by two different scenarios with regard to values embedded in their political ideologies. The researcher makes qualitative judgements as to where each scenario falls on each value axis, and then connects those points to create closed polygons. The two closed polygons created in the example are a visual approximation of the composite value profile of each scenario. Obviously, more moderate value positions – or in this example, ideologies – will lie closer to the centre, circling the origin point, where more radical ideologies and viewpoints will colonize conceptual space out to the edges of the axes. The amount of overlap – or the lack of it – also indicates possible compatibility, or at least points of communication, between the two scenarios.
The work is of course qualitative and subjective. But this in itself offers interesting starting points for research: using radar diagrams, you could ask an entire group of people to map the value structures of a given scenario, and compare their individual maps and average them to create a group map. (In workshops, one way of doing this is to give everyone overhead transparency sheets, with appropriate magic markers; the individual transparencies may then be layered, on top of one another, over a template transparency with the axes defined.)