What are Causal Maps?

К оглавлению
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 
17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 
34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 
51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 
68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 
85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 
102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 
119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 
136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 

As Axelrod (1976) tells us, a cognitive map is a way of representing a person’s assertions

regarding a domain. A cognitive map is designed to capture the structure of the causal

assertions of a person with respect to a particular domain. Over the years the concept

of a cognitive map has been refined and is used here as a general class of representations

of thoughts or beliefs. These maps can represent individual assertions, or those elicited

from a group (Huff, 1990; Montazemi & Conrath, 1986).

A causal map is a sub-class of cognitive maps that focuses on the representation of

causal beliefs; a network of causal relations embedded in an individual’s statements,

which is used to create an explicit cognitive representation (Huff, 1990; Nelson, Nadkarni,

Narayanan & Ghods, 2000). A causal map is a collection of techniques used to explicate

and assess the structure and content of mental models (Axelrod, 1976; Fiol & Huff, 1992).

This allows the researcher to capture the cognitive structure of an individual by

representing how domain knowledge is linked in his or her mind (Carley & Palmquist,

1992; Eden, Ackerman & Cropper, 1992).

A revealed causal map is the assertions of causality the participant chooses to reveal

to the world (Narayanan & Fahey, 1990). With revealed causal mapping you are not

assuming or implying that the representation elicited is in fact the “true” cognition of the

individual. With revealed causal mapping you are explicitly stating that there is some gap

between the representation evoked and the true cognition of the individual, because

what has been captured is only what the participant was willing to reveal.

Why Use Causal Mapping?

Causal mapping (CM) is used to study cognition and the cognitive structure of

individuals in a specific domain. Researchers employ CM to elicit a cognitive representation

of interlinked concepts embedded in the knowledge and/or expertise of the

participants around a domain. CM promotes understanding of the complexity of individuals’

(and groups’) knowledge base and belief structure (Kemmerer, Buche & Narayanan,

2001). The maps provide a frame of reference for understanding both what the participant

knows and exhibits and the reasoning behind his or her actions.

As stated previously, there are several research contexts in which causal mapping can

be utilized (see Chapter 1 for detailed discussion). In a discovery setting, the goal of using

causal mapping is to discover commonalities in participants in search of possible

patterns in the data elicited. In an evocative setting the goal is to develop mid-range

theory to capture the cognitive aspects of expertise in the domain of interest. In a theory

testing setting, the goal is to confirm, dispute, or expand existing theory. Lastly, in an

intervention setting, the goal is often to create consensus around a course of action or

issue at hand.