Fellow skeptic and avid blogger Tracy Allison Altman from Evidence Soup and Ugly Research recently started a new initiative called Explanation Science. She asked me if I would like to join here initiative, which I naturally did. But, why did she start this initiative and what is it about? In this short article she answers a few of my questions. To be included on the distribution list of Explanation Science, send your name, location, and work email address to this address.They’ll keep you posted on new developments
So Tracy, why did you start this community?
I started ExplanationScience.org after years of observing (and obsessing over) how people develop, communicate, and apply evidence when they want to make change happen. I realized that although evidence matters a great deal, how we explain that evidence is equally important. So I decided to pioneer a new field: Explanation Science. Explaining is one of the most important things people do, but it hasn't received specific management attention or R&D focus. 'Explaining' can happen anywhere, and can be done by anyone: When we are problem-solving, debating/arguing, teaching, discussing results with investors or stakeholders, announcing research findings, selling products, etc.
This new membership organization is dedicated to the 'science of explaining'. It's a place for people who want to know what works (and what doesn't): To improve the process of explaining, whether it's finding innovative ways to develop valid explanatory information, or finding better ways to present a persuasive explanation.
For several years, I've been an outspoken advocate for processes and technologies that enable evidence-based management. I see www.ExplanationScience.org as complementary to initiatives supporting "evidence-based _____". If we can help people gather better explanatory information, and help them provide better explanations, then we can help them drive wider adoption of evidence-based management methodologies.
What is the aims and/or goals of the community?
We want to advance the idea that explaining is a specific type of activity that's crucial to success - and that it can be purposefully examined and improved upon. We want to build an active online community, and also sponsor face-to-face events. We're planning a kick-off event in Denver, Colorado during Q1 of 2010, and a conference in northern California later next year.
We want to give people a place to put their heads together: To discuss methodologies for gathering explanatory evidence, to exchange case studies on presentation strategies, to evaluate technologies, and to publish findings.
Our vision statement says "Explaining is one of the most important things people do, so we're giving it the attention it deserves."
Who participates in the community?
We welcome people from all walks of life who want to do a better job of explaining, and better understand what belongs in a ‘good’ explanation. People who are asking questions like:
- What information do we need to explain customer buying behavior?
- What techniques are best for explaining a particular health outcome or environmental impact?
- Which technologies are best for presenting explanations, or searching for them?
Our individual members are people interested in the 'science of explaining': Such as technologists, analytics experts, business professionals, scientists, educators, policymakers, analysts, or marketers. We'll also have institutional/corporate members, to serve two purposes: To help fund our group's activities, and to introduce the 'science of explaining' to people inside those member organizations.
Why is it interesting for potential clients?
We offer an opportunity to contribute to the development of a new field: The 'science of explaining'. People with fresh ideas can make a real difference by joining our group. We're providing a place to demonstrate expertise and share experiences on an important topic. We'll provide numerous ways to participate: Leading (or contributing to) online conversations and organized debates. Publishing applied research. Speaking at conferences. Contributing to a knowledge base. Showcasing technologies.
We're bringing together people who otherwise wouldn't be connected: People from different focus areas, industries, and geographies who share a common interest. Our online community, publications, and technology showcase will appear at www.ExplanationScience.org
Thank you Tracy, talk to you later.
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