Community Sensemaking

After gathering stories using the SenseMaker tool, Palm Health Foundation brings together community members, including local leaders and youth, to read the stories, form new insights based on what they read, and answer the question, “What can we do?”

This process is known as “sensemaking.”

In traditional research involving personal narratives, stories and responses to follow-up questions might be analyzed using various coding methods and statistical techniques. For example, a researcher might read each story, classify segments of each story, identify patterns and themes, and explore the relationships between these pieces to form overall conclusions. Conclusions originate primarily from this process, handed down from the researcher.

In contrast, sensemaking gives community members and local leaders the ability to interact with the raw data (the stories themselves and their interpretations by storytellers) and identify patterns and themes as a group.

Through the process of sensemaking, community members collectively give meaning to their experiences. The complex multitude of factors influencing life in each community develops into a shared narrative through dialogue evoked by the stories.

During the COVID-19 crisis, sensemaking sessions have been held virtually through Zoom. On average, about 30 to 35 community members participate in each session.

Sensemaking Sessions

Explore the insights and ideas from our recent sensemaking workshops.

As Spring Ended, Youth Prepared to Help Families

May 26, 2020

As the spring semester of 2020 came to a close, young people volunteering with Student ACES, a non-profit organization in the Glades, began discussing how they might help families using Palm Health Foundation's Neighbors Helping Neighbors (NHN)
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"Take Us to Happier Places"

May 20, 2020

When youth collecting stories from the community were asked what they could do to transform the mood of the stories, one remarked that they would need to collect stories somewhere else.
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Residents' Stories Chronicle the New Normal

April 23, 2020

In late April, a shift began in the tone and content of stories from residents. Some worries began to subside while others took their place.
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Teens Brainstorm How to Help Families During Quarantine

April 10, 2020

Residents with mental illness in need of medication and children in need of help with homework were among the challenges tackled by Boynton Beach teens.
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Story Review Highlights Worries About Utility Bills

April 9, 2020

An April review of COVID-19 stories identified common concerns among residents, including the prospect of facing a massive utility bill following months of suspended payments.
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Insights from Delray Youth About COVID-19 Stories

March 21, 2020

Youth involved in the EJS Project in Delray Beach participated in a virtual sensemaking session facilitated by Palm Health Foundation.
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