As part of an on-going design science project, we are developing “Theory Garden,” a tool that enables individuals to easily generate visual causal models, thus making their perspectives explicit. Theory Garden aids in the drawing of personal theories of a situation as users indicate their assumptions with qualitative statements and simulate the resulting models. The intuitive interface is intended to minimize the barrier to use, and thus be accessible to a wide audience. The simulation engine enables users to better understand theoretical implications of their theories, and to engage in scenario-based simulation. This paper represents the first step in our effort to scientifically validate our use expectations for the software. In this step we identify a range of use patterns of untrained users. We address strategies for dealing with the unexpected variation that we found in personal modeling strategies, as well as a next step in our study.
Berente, Nicholas and Boland, Richard J., "A Design Artifact for Distributed Cognition: "Natural Science" Pilot Leads to an Expanded Design Science Program" (2009). AMCIS 2009 Proceedings. Paper 303.