Author Topic: What does "What does that mean?" mean?  (Read 522 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline fuzzyMarmot

  • Seasoned Contributor
  • ****
  • Posts: 698
Re: What does "What does that mean?" mean?
« Reply #15 on: September 23, 2019, 03:47:16 AM »
If the goal is to have a productive exchange of ideas, I think PsyStat could be thinking of this all wrong. The best way to handle a complicated human interaction is to treat it as one, and not try to formulate your conversational strategy using abstract analysis. Just have a natural conversation. Get to know the person and their values. If you are deciding how to talk to someone using acronyms or variable names ("X"), then you are probably overthinking things just a tad.

Offline gmalivuk

  • Frequent Poster
  • ******
  • Posts: 2961
Re: What does "What does that mean?" mean?
« Reply #16 on: September 23, 2019, 07:51:41 AM »
I suppose I'm suggesting that sometimes unpacking A's claim via WDTM queries -- if they're posed well -- does get to the meat of the issue while also sticking with the claim itself.
But "well posed WDTM queries" are almost never simply, "What does that mean?"

Asking "What does that mean?" about "better safe than sorry" would imply to most people that you don't understand the expression itself.

So in end it seems like you're just saying that asking for clarification can make conversations smoother. Which, yeah, obviously. And?
The world is so exquisite with so much love and moral depth, that there is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there's little good evidence. Far better...is to look death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides.

Offline jt512

  • Frequent Poster
  • ******
  • Posts: 2765
    • jt512
Re: What does "What does that mean?" mean?
« Reply #17 on: September 23, 2019, 08:02:29 AM »
I suppose I'm suggesting that sometimes unpacking A's claim via WDTM queries -- if they're posed well -- does get to the meat of the issue while also sticking with the claim itself.
Asking "What does that mean?" about "better safe than sorry" would imply to most people that you don't understand the expression itself.

In my experience conducting structured interviews in social science and marketing research, that is exactly right.  The probe, "What do you mean...?" tends to elicit a definition rather than an explanation.  What you want to do is to get the person to expand on what s/he is saying.  I have found the question, "Can you elaborate?" to often be the most effective probe.  "Could you expand on that?" is also effective.  Unfortunately, words like "elaborate" and "expand" would be a bit unexpected in an informal conversation, but probing questions using more conversational wording that get at the same thing—elaboration, expansion—I suspect, would be more effective than "What do you mean...?"
« Last Edit: September 23, 2019, 08:04:32 AM by jt512 »
Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof.

 

personate-rain