Friday, June 3, 2011

Divergent faction: Erudite

I have a sinking suspicion I would land in Erudite if I was in the Divergent world.

I love research.

I have my PhD in Governance and Sustainability and research how people make decisions about natural resources.

If I can keep you from nodding off for a quick second, and believe me, I feel sometimes like my research was made to eradicate insomnia, I'll tell you how I do it.

I use a theory developed by Dutch researchers that looks at motivation, information, and power and tries to understand how these three factors influence how people interact.

You can't just go up to someone and say, "Hey, who has the power in this scenario?"

Because inevitably someone who is the true puppet master will shrug and say that she is just a regular gal.

Or someone will claim to be THE person in charge, but you find out from others that nobody takes him seriously.

So I come up with a load of questions that tap away at underlying elements of motivation, information, and power, and ask them of people who work on water projects.

I conduct interviews with stakeholders gauging their motivation, information, and power and then based on various combinations of these characteristics, I have a pretty good idea whether they will cooperate, or enter into an opposition situation.

In other words, I try to predict if they will get along, or if they will fight.

It's actually pretty useful for novel-writing, thinking about how these factors influence people.

Are you still awake. Don't let me lose you now, it's almost over.

The point of all of this is that I got my Erudite on this week.

I did not use research to create an evil plan to take over the Universe.

I worked on an article about a water project in India and I felt somewhat Erudite as I did it.


  1. I haven't read Divergent yet--I know, I'm missing out.

    I did not fall asleep, and that was pretty interesting.

  2. Sounds like a cool job to me, but then I'd probably land up in Erudite too. We evil master minders must stick together. :)

  3. I'd love to see the list of questions you use!

  4. I'd love to see the questions and then the answers. Was the audience random, of a certain education level, etc.?

  5. Yeah...the questions you use would be awesome for writers to see and use during planning. Great post!
    Edge of Your Seat Romance

  6. Sounds like a cool job - no nodding from me, and I can see how it would be VERY helpful in writing a novel.

  7. Your research does sound interesting! I like your research methods. I majored in Psych in college, and some of what you're talking about reminds me of things I learned then.

    And yeah, I would probably end up in Erudite. I mean, in Harry Potter-verse I always end up in Ravenclaw. :P

  8. Actually, this was very interesting. Perhaps another post or two...the questions you asked? So much here. Have a great weekend!

  9. Another vote to see the questions!

    (You wouldn't mind if I use them to take over the world, would you?)

  10. Interesting. And, I think, totally applicable to writing. I'm just starting a new novel--and the characters that I thought were in charge aren't.

  11. Eliza- check it out, it's really good.

    Yes Angie, I knew you were an evil mastermind, too.

    Crystal, Raquel, Kittie, Carrie-- of course I can share-- I will start putting a post together about it.

    Susan- the interviewees depend on the situation. So, for example, with my PhD research I looked at 48 cases of wetland restoration in the US and Europe-- the people I interviewed were sometimes from government orgs (think US Fish and Wildlife Service) or non profits (like The Nature Conservancy), or farmers or private landowners.

    Thanks you Beverly!

    yes, Krispy, i am sure if you did Psych research it would overlap. Ravenclaw/erudite must have some serious overlap.

    Nice Lindz!

    Thank you Kittie- I hope your weekend was nice, too.

    Carrie, if you can use them to take over the world... then that's cool by me.

    Ahh, Connie-- nice! Got to watch out for those sneaky ones.

  12. That sounds totally Erudit-itious to me! I think your job sounds really interesting---it makes me wonder who is the "puppetmaster" at MY job...!

  13. Sarah-- ha! It's tricky, because they won't want you to know...


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