Thinkquiry

    Thinkquiry is the term we use for thinking differently about how we ask questions from a systems thinking approach. What’s different about Thinkquiry is the underlying logic of DSRP which is multivalent.

    Traditional question logic is born of Socratic Logic (which is bivalent logic) and typically employs such rubrics as the 5Ws (Who, What, Where, When, Why). DSRP logic expands on this bivalent logic, which means that these kinds of questions can still be asked, but we are encouraged to penetrate deeper into our topic and ask deeper questions.

    Some Introductory DSRP Questions

    DSRP questioning helps us to see things about systems but also to consider some of the things we are not seeing. It also helps us to look at systems from multiple perspectives. When we do look at things from multiple perspectives, it doesn't just shift the point of view, it also changes the distinctions we make, the relationships we do or do not see, and the way we organize parts into a coherent whole.

    1. What distinctions am I seeing?
    2. What distinctions am I not seeing?
    3. What systems am I seeing?
    4. What systems am I not seeing?
    5. What relationships am I seeing?
    6. What relationships am I not seeing?
    7. From what point of view am I seeing things?
    8. Which points of view am I not seeing?

    Some Intermediate DSRP Questions (in MadLib format)

    Distinctions

    1. What is ____ ?
    2. What is not ____?
    3. How would you distinguish between ____ and ____?
    4. Can you compare and contrast ____ and ____?

    Systems

    1. What are the parts of ____?
    2. What is ____ a part of?
    3. Can you name some parts of the parts of ____?
    4. What are the parts of the relationship between ____ and ____?
    5. What are the parts of ____ when looked at from the viewpoint of ____?

    Relationships

    1. What ideas are related to ____ and what ideas are related by ____?
    2. What idea relates ____ and ____?
    3. How are the parts of ____ related?
    4. How are the parts of  ____ related to ____?
    5. What are the relationships among ____ and ____ and other things?

    Perspectives

    1. When looking at ____, can you identify the perspective it is viewed from, and the subparts of that perspective?
    2. Can you think of ____ from multiple perspectives?
    3. How are ____ and ____ related when looking at them from a new perspective?
    4. What are the parts of ____ when looked at from multiple perspectives?

    Some Advanced DSRP Questions


    Remember that a Distinction is made up of an identity (what something is) and an other (what something is not). To perform a Distinction analysis, take a step back from your map and ask yourself these questions:

    1. Are these all the identities that you need? Is there something important missing?
    2. Are any of your identities overlapping or redundant?
    3. Do your identities represent specific constructs? Could you add language to make them more distinct?
    4. Do any of your identities cause you to marginalize or overlook other identities?
    5. For each identity you make ask yourself, "What is the cognitive opportunity cost?" Am I okay with that cost?
    6. How does analyzing or deconstructing what-some-thing-(identity)-is-not, help you to define the boundary of what it is?
    7. Do any of your explicit identities communicate implicit bias?
    8. Should you articulate the assumptions (i.e., perspectives) that underlie your choice of language/distinctions?

    Remember that a System is made up of an interaction between part and whole. To perform a part-whole analysis, take a step back from your map and ask yourself these questions:

    1. Would my analysis benefit from turning any distinction into a whole and considering its parts?
    2. Are there parts missing in any of my existing wholes?
    3. Have I considered how the parts are related?
    4. Should I zoom into any part and deconstruct it further into parts of its own? (i.e., make a part a whole)
    5. Do the parts look different from different perspectives? (e.g., named differently, seen or not seen)
    6. Does the existence of parts in one whole indicate a certain part should be included in another whole?
    7. Are there parts that should be a perspective on some part of my map?
    8. Would laying out the parts differently (left, right justified or freehand) make my map easier to read?

    Remember that a Relationship is made up of an action and a reaction. To perform a Relationship analysis, take a step back from your map and ask yourself these questions:

    1. Are these all the relationships that I need? Are there relationships missing?
    2. Should any of my relationships be directional (arrows)?
    3. Should I identify/distinguish any of the relationships? (i.e., give them a block and a name)
    4. Should I zoom into any of these relationship-distinctions and consider their parts? (i.e., create an RDS)
    5. Do the relationships look different from different perspectives? (e.g., named differently, seen or not seen)
    6. Are there relationships between relationships?
    7. Are there systems of relationships? (e.g., short or long feedback loops)
    8. Are there relationships between the parts of 2 or more systems? (i.e., an R-channel)?
    9. Would laying out the Ds and Rs differently (moving things around) make my map easier to read?

    Remember that Perspectives are made up of an interaction between point and view. To perform a Perspective analysis, take a step back from your map and ask yourself these questions:

    1. Do the distinctions, relationships, or part-whole organization of my map reveal an implicit perspective (i.e., bias, assumptions, root perspective, etc.)
    2. Would my analysis benefit from adding a perspective(s) or turning any distinction into a point of view?
    3. Are there perspectives missing from my analysis?  
    4. Have I looked at the alternatives to the perspectives I have included?
    5. Should I zoom into any perspective and think of it as being made up of parts which are sub-perspectives? (i.e., many perspectives are not homogenous)
    6. Do the distinctions, relationships, part-whole organization or perspectives taken look different from a different perspective?
    7. If I took a moment to look at the entire map from the perspective of each node in the map, does it reveal hidden and important complexities?
    8. Would laying out the parts differently (left, right justified or freehand) make my map easier to read?

    DSRP Is Not Four Buckets But for Simple Rules that Can Be Mixed and Matched

    dsrp theory as method