An Easy Way to Critically Think and Analyse

You’ve may have done some reading or research and done some analysis and interpretation on this, but it may still lack depth. The Deep Insight Pyramid based on Bloom’s Taxonomy and years spent working as a teacher and in academia can help you critically think and analyse.

The DIP can be applied in so many ways, from business reports to academic papers.

What is the DIP?


The first layer is The Idea: For a business report, you would perhaps describe an idea, the industry, the customer segment, the research findings. For academia, you would talk about the theory or model.

The second layer is Analysis: You take the idea, for example, that you have described and talk about why it is good and why it is bad. What are the benefits and limitations of it, in isolation? For example, it could be that the model or theory is old or it was based on a small sample. For business reports it could be that the research findings are skewed toward a certain demographic or the sample size was a good reflection of the population.

The third layer is Application: How does what you have been talking about apply in a real-world setting? For example, the research findings may not be applicable to a wide population because of the sample, but inferences can be made that can be applied such as we know that people agreed that product X was more popular than product Y. For an academic theory or model, this could be applied to the real-world, for example, a theory on behaviour can show that if we do X, people may behave in a certain way in response.

The final, fourth layer is Buried Treasure: This is the evaluation of the idea, model etc, in a real-world setting, what would be its risks, benefits or limitations? For example, for the business report, if we used the research findings in the real-world, would they be genuinely useful? How? What changes would these make to current marketing strategy for example? For academia, if we used the model in a real-world setting, what would be the challenges? For example, if we were considering to do a study framed by a model, what impact does it have on data collection and analysis? After primary research has occurred, how did the model impact on the study? Should it be used again in the future? What are the implications? What gaps are there for future research?

The final and fourth layer is where the magic happens, where the buried treasure is found. It is the last part of the story to understand the value, risk and limitations of an idea, model and so many other frameworks.

For a teacher marking a report or for a business manager reading a report, the interesting part is the fourth layer. This is what the teacher gives the highest marks for and this is what the business manager is paying a research team or consultancy to do and learn from.

If you are in the UK, would a workshop help you apply the Deeper Insight Pyramid? Would you be interested in a webinar to apply this?

Understanding Your Ancestors Could Help You Engage With Your Customers

Yuval Noah Harari, the author of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, gives an overview of humanity from the early beginnings. The Cognitive Revolution is the turning point for humanity where we transformed into the humans we are today.

The key to the Cognitive Revolution is the development of imagined worlds and the ability to believe in fiction that consequently allow people to cooperate and adapt flexibly in large numbers. The language developed allowed humans to communicate their immediate reality through explaining what was immediately around them, but also imagined worlds.

What can we learn from this history book, which touches upon anthropology and sociology, that could help businesses engage with their customers?

Stories and storytelling: Everybody believing in the same fiction is powerful. Telling a succinct and consistent story will help customers understand and engage with the business. Values of the company that are consistently shown, where people can believe in these stories, that resonate with them, enable customers to create and build their imagined worlds of the business. For businesses, showing and behaving consistently with their values and brand image, reinforce the imagined worlds of the business to customers. This ‘collective consciousness’ as sociologists call it, shows how effective branding and marketing can engage customers and change customer behaviour.

Information: This may sound obvious as we need information and in this digital age we have an abundance of it, however our ancestors needed information to learn and develop their survival skills. For businesses, communicating well and having information available to customers is key. Businesses keep striving to have the right information, at the right time, in the right place, delivered in the right way to their customers for strong impact, to engage with their customers.

Reviews and Testimonials: Human language developed to find out information about other people through gossip to help people trust in strangers, as we inherently did not trust strangers. Trust in strangers is a tricky topic and not something that will be dived into here, but this demonstrates the importance of customer testimonials and reviews as it is common knowledge that these significantly impact on buyer behaviour. If a review or testimonial is poor, it is less likely that the potential buyer will continue to purchase the product or service.

The idea of having anthropology in business to understand and help businesses engage with customers better isn’t a new one. But, how do you think knowledge of our ancestors can help us better understand ourselves and engage with customers today?

Top 13 Reference Management Tools

Reference management tools can be used not only for students and academics or teachers, but start-ups, SMEs, marketers, writers, bid-writers, publishers and research agencies. Basically, anyone who is doing research by reading a lot of content on a particular project or has to keep track of a number of citations and sources and needs to keep all the information and sources in one place. Here are our top 13 reference management tools.

Really Useful Interview Transcription Tools

When collecting qualitative data, there comes the task of transcribing the data. Transcription services have their advantages but if you would like to consider other ways of transcribing audio and video files, here are transcription tools that may make your life a little easier.

There are tools for transcribing audio files: manually, using software for transcribing where you listen to the recorded data and you type what you hear or using voice recognition software where you listen to the recording, repeat out aloud and the software can convert voice to text to save time on typing. Artificial Intelligence tools where an audio file is uploaded and translated into text are currently available. Also, where audio files have multiple speakers such as focus groups and background noise, voice-to-text software can struggle with these. So, before recording audio files, it is worth investing in good quality recording hardware and meeting rooms for reduced background noise. Whichever software tool is used, the transcripts should be doubled checked if they are to be used verbatim.

Manual Transcription Software

Manually transcribing audio files can be made easier using these tools.

NCH Express Scribe is free. This software controls playback for audio and video files where the recording can be sped up or slowed down. Changing speed can also be done with the free software VoiceWalker 2.0, which repeats short segments of a recording that overlap to making listening to the audio flow. NHC Express Scribe is compatible with foot pedals, although keyboard ‘hot keys’ can be used instead to rewind or fast forward, which is also a feature on Scrivener (£32). Pear Note for Mac  (£32) where Pear Note has a timeline to keep track of text along the recording.

Transcribe (£16 per year) is an offline tool, which has an integrated audio player and text editor and autosaves every keystroke, this tool similar to NCH Express Scribe and Scrivener has ‘hot keys’ and is compatible with foot pedals but also has the speech-to-text feature, where you would listen to the audio and repeat outloud and this will be converted into text and can be faster than typing.

oTranscribe is a free web app that has a number of features similar to the above tools such as timestamp, ‘hot keys’ and automatic saving, as it is web-based it has the benefit of being accessed from multiple sites but keeping the privacy of the document as it is saved to the computer.

Speech-to-Text Tools

Speech-to-text tools is the conversion of audio into words and usually is done manually in transcription whereby the transcriber listens to the file and repeats this into the microphone on a computer with speech-to-text software that writes out what it hears. This method can save time typing out what you are listening to. It is recommended that you store your files privately.

In a Google Chrome browser it is possible to ‘type with your voice’ where spoken words can be converted into text in Google Docs and is available in English. Transcribe‘s dictation engine is able to support European and Asian languages.

Dragon is an app (free) and desktop tool (£80-£280) that recognises speech and translates this into text. Dragon can be trained to understand your voice over a couple of weeks to make it more efficient as its accuracy increases.

Automated Transcription

Automated transcription is more suited to large-scale audio transcribing, but are still useful to be aware of because in the future as the technology develops, packages may be available for students or smaller projects.

Go Transcribe (£36-£240 per month) is an Artificial Intelligence tool that can transcribe English, French and Spanish with audio files from smart phones can be uploaded. An online editor allows you to make more changes and the text is available in a range of formats. Application Programme Interface (API) technology from VoiceBase can recognise and analyse speech, can tag keywords in an audio file and use machine-learning to produce transcriptions. For students and professionals with less than 500 hours per month of audio, there is the web based app (Pay As You Go).

Trint (Pay As You Go for £12/h or £32/£95 per month) believes it can go beyond automatic transcription, as well as producing auto-transcripts in European languages, it can produce interactive trancripts for searching that can be shared for collaboration. A word can be clicked on and heard.

For transcription and tagging themes on an audio file, Pop Up Archive (£12-240 per month) could help you. You upload an audio file, the tool tags and transcribes it and the transcript is available in a range of formats, what distinguishes this tool from the others aside from tagging is searchable sound.

IBM’s Watson looks very technical and it may be used for automated transcription, perhaps as a one-off through the Blue Mix free month’s trial account. This could be available in the future for more accessible and accurate transcription.

Happy transcribing!

Electronically Organising a Literature Review

Around 6 years ago, I published an article on electronically organising a literature review. Curating a large set of articles, websites and books can be daunting when there is a high volume. The article has been a success with over 20,000 views on alone! Interestingly the article was referred to by a wide spectrum of organisations for a range of different reasons, which goes to show that a literature review is not just an academic task!

Top 10 Tools for Mind-Maps and Collaborative Remote Working

There are many tools out there for doing mind-maps to collaboratively work with remote teams. This can help with coming up with research ideas and projects as well as collaborating through the research if there are remote workers or if you want everything kept online rather than on a physical whiteboard. Here are our top ten tools.