Guidance for participants

Some suggestions for Facilitators

In each ParEvo exercise, and in each iteration of an exercise, the Facilitator will provide guidance to the participants in the text panel at the top of the exercise page. In recent exercises that guidance has appeared in two forms:

  1. Guidance about the purpose of the overall exercise, followed by guidance on the desired focus of the current iteration
  2. Generic advice to participants about how they should write their contributions

1. Exercise and Iteration-specific guidance

  1. Make it clear what number iteration is now underway.
  2. Update the guidance at each stage of the exercise: at the start of each new iteration and at the evaluation stage.
  3. 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
  4. 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.
  5. . At the beginning provide clear guidance on the expected scope of the contents; 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…”
  6. Provide short encouraging feedback on contributions made in the last iteration
  7. Clarify any areas of contents where more attention would be appreciated in this current iteration
  8. You may also want to comment on the expected style: Do you want to read like a documentary or a character focused novel, or….Different “genres” will be relevant to different exercise settings.

2. Standard guidance on contribution contents

This section will list examples of the second type of guidance that have been given so far, as a prompt for Facilitators to think about using in their forthcoming exercise. Obviously some of these will need editing to fit the details of a specific exercise. For example the number of hours available to complete an iteration or the desired length of a contribution.

  1. You have 72 hours to complete this iteration.
  2. Write only one paragraph per interaction and limit yourself to 150 words at the most per paragraph.
  3. Write chronologically. This will make it easier for other contributors to follow the thread of the story.
  4. Please write in the past tense, as if the story has already taken place.
  5. Remember that we are trying to describe what can happen, not what should happen or only what we would have liked to see happen.
  6. If at all possible, make it clear when and where events happened, and who (individuals or organisations) were involved, rather than simply describing general changes and trends. This will increase the readers’ interest and may increase the plausibility of the events described.
  7. Don’t accidentally disclose your identity; we want the authors of all contributions to remain anonymous.
  8. Don’t write in the first person singular: “I did this…” Keep yourself separate from what you are describing
  9. Please bear in mind this is intended as a serious exercise. Therefore, PLEASE avoid humour, sarcasm, irony, rhetoric, exaggeration or fantasy.
  10. Take care not to accidentally introduce inconsistencies into the overall storyline by describing things within your contribution that don’t make sense as possibilities given what has been happening earlier in the storyline.
  11. Evaluators will review all content before publication. Where necessary, contributors may be asked to edit their contributions to align with the rules mentioned above.
  12. After each iteration other people (commentators) may be asked to comment on your contributions to the stories. Their role will be to stimulate (but not to direct) the exercise.
  13. At the end of the exercise, we will ask you (and a selection of stakeholders from the different categories) to evaluate the surviving storylines regarding their probability and desirability.


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