The first thing a participant should read, when taking part in any stage of a ParEvo exercise, is the guidance given by the Facilitator, which is located at the top of the user interface.
Here are some suggestions on how Facilitators should use this page.
- Update the guidance at each stage of the exercise: at the start of each new iteration and at the evaluation stage. The guidance shown above has been updated for viewing by any visitors to the exercise site, after the exercise has been completed.
- Optional: Copy the same guidance information in any emails being sent to participants. At the very least be careful that the contents of those emails do not conflict with the guidance information provided on the ParEvo exercise page
- Provide advice on preferred writing style. For example: “Please write in the past tense, describing imagined future events as though you were someone in the future looking back at what had happened, as a part of a kind of documentary. Please limit yourself to 150 words at the most.”
- Make it clear that you are looking for ideas about what could happen (the default request). Unless you are looking for ideas on what is most likely to happen, or what should happen – in which case make that very clear.
- Provide advice on the scope of the content. For example: “The focus should be on the USA but may include references to events elsewhere in the world. Although the focus could be on events on any scale (individual, community, city, state, country), the events should be ones which you think have some wider relevance to the country as a whole, – if not in the present then perhaps in the future. The events may be political, economic, social, cultural, ecological, biological, physical, etc, and any combinations thereof…”
- Emphasise important storyline requirements. For example, with alternative futures. “Take care not to introduce inconsistencies i.e. events happening in an impossible sequence“. Or with alternative histories, “Take care to ensure events are described sufficiently well to make them observable or verifiable in some way, if they did happen“.
- If appropriate, state the time period covered by the current iteration. For example, “In this study, we are asking participants to help build multiple storylines about what might happen in the USA following the inauguration of Joe Biden on January 20, 2021, as President of the United States. The study will involve eight iterations of storyline development, covering eight 3-month periods of time, from early 2012 to the end of 2022. Each one of these will constitute a separate prolific.co study.”
- Be clear on what is allowed. For example, “In this iteration you can add a new contribution to any of the (dark green) surviving storylines, regardless of who has most recently developed it. And if helpful, you can borrow and adapt any ideas from any part of any of the storylines.”
- Be clear on what is not wanted. For example: “Please bear in mind this is intended as a serious exercise. Avoid humour, sarcasm, irony, rhetoric, exaggeration or fantasy. Focus on what realistically you think might happen. If this advice is ignored you will be asked to edit or even totally rewrite your contribution“
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