Mental model training sessions

29. March 2023

March 13 – March 29, 2023

A series of training sessions for “mental model interviewing” has been run by the University of Aberdeen (Katrin Prager). The purpose of these training sessions is to upskill those researchers across the different countries who will interview a range of stakeholders to compile “mental models”. These mental models are diagrammatic representations of how a person thinks about a topic. In our case, we are collecting the mental models of different stakeholders along the value chain. This captures their views of the issues in currently unsustainable food systems, as well as their perception of what they can do to make food systems more sustainable.

Depending on the interviewee, we will use an online visualisation platform (such as Mural or Miro) for video-call interviews, or sticky notes, pen and paper for face-to-face interviews. Trainees learned to conduct an interview and co-create the mental model with the interviewee while navigating the functionality of Mural (see example picture). The quality of the data is better if the interviewers conduct the interviews similarly, using a semi-structured interview guide and adapting their prompt questions to the respective interviewee.

 The mental models will be analysed to identify if the importance of barriers is similar across countries and case studies (e.g. barriers to organic farming, upscaling sustainable value chains, collective water management); which types of stakeholders may be a catalyst for change; and whether barriers and proposed actions align between different stakeholders in the food system.