Timo Honkela, Nina Janasik, Krista Lagus, Tiina Lindh-Knuutila, Mika Pantzar, and Juha Raitio. GICA: Grounded intersubjective concept analysis - a method for enhancing mutual understanding and participation. Technical Report TKK-ICS-R41, AALTO-ICS, ESPOO, December 2010.


In this article, we introduce a method to make visible the differences among people regarding how they conceptualize the world. The Grounded Intersubjective Concept Analysis (GICA) method first employs a conceptual survey designed to elicit particular ways in which concepts are used among participants, aiming to exclude the level of opinions and values. The subsequent analysis and visualization reveals potential underlying groupings of people, concepts and contexts. An awareness and reflection process is then initiated based on these results. This method, combining qualitative and quantitative components, leads into the externalization and sharing of tacit knowledge. Thereby the GICA method builds up a common ground for mutual understanding, and is particularly well suited for strengthening participatory processes. Participatory methods have been designed for including stakeholders in decision making processes. They do this by eliciting different opinions and values of the stakeholders. The underlying assumption, however, is that there are no significant conceptual differences among the participants. Nevertheless, often the failures of the participatory process can be traced back to such hidden conceptual differences. As an unfortunate outcome, crucial experiential knowledge may go unrecognized or differences in the meanings of words used may be misconstrued as differences in opinions. The GICA method aims at alleviating these problems.


Subjectivity, intersubjectivity, communication, miscommunication, participatory methods, data analysis, statistical machine learning

Suggested BibTeX entry:

    address = {ESPOO},
    author = {Timo Honkela and Nina Janasik and Krista Lagus and Tiina Lindh-Knuutila and Mika Pantzar and Juha Raitio},
    institution = {AALTO-ICS},
    month = {December},
    number = {TKK-ICS-R41},
    title = {{GICA}: Grounded Intersubjective Concept Analysis - A Method for Enhancing Mutual Understanding and Participation},
    year = {2010},

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