# Confused about Layers of Evidence

Hi Zettelkasten friends,

I've been processing papers on psychology lately (on retrieval practice and reading comprehension) but I'm having trouble implementing the concept of "layers of evidence" as described in https://zettelkasten.de/posts/layers-of-evidence/.

In the post, @sfast said: (my emphasis for context)

The next layer of evidence is the interpretation of data patterns. The phenomenological layer meant you describe what you saw. Here, you interpret why you saw it.

Now the concept of causality can come into play. You can explain the correlation above by saying: Drowning people in swimming pools generates amplifiers for the nuclear power plants in the U.S, and that’s why when more people drown in swimming pools, more energy is generated in nuclear power plants.

Going down to the examples:

Phenomenon: Serotonin is part of the physiological substance that constitutes status. Cooperations and alliances are integral part of status.
Interpretation: Serotonin is a regulator of negative emotion and emotion in general can be optimized via dominance and cooperation.

[...]

Phenomenon: One study showed that some training can increase the relation of fat to carbohydrate you use for up to 24 hours.[^jamurtas2004] Another study showed that in overweight people, fasted training in the morning results in a ad libitum reduction of calories reduction of carbohydrates.
Interpretation: There is an acute effect on the metabolic flexibility that is distinct from the general metabolic flexibility one has and that is used as a model in current science.

I won't place all the examples here, but to me it seems that most in the "Interpretation" layer are "claims" and the "Phenomenon" layer would be the "evidence". But I got confused after seeing "interpreting why you saw the pattern" and "the concept of causality" in these examples. Specifically:

Does that mean that the interpretation layer is the one that explains the pattern? Or is it simply a generalization of the phenomenon? In the latter case, how do you know if you're generalizing correctly? Do you always need a theory or a model to do this?

Now in the paper I've processed recently, I struggled to make zettels because there are simply too plenty of interpretations to begin with — BUT at the same time, none of them felt like "proper" interpretations.

For example, one of the patterns was:

• Students who did free recall on a passage for 10 minutes, restudy for 5 minutes, and then recall the passage again for 10 minutes had higher item-specific retention than students who did concept mapping for 10 or 20 minutes, did recall for 10 minutes, restudied for 5 minutes, then did recall again for 10 minutes. [@oday2020Comparing]

So I had a couple of notes to interpret the same thing:

...but none of the notes seemed good enough to turn into a zettel, since I am not an expert on the topic. What would you recommend me to do at this point? Examples and explanation of implementing the second layer and especially the third layer would really help.

Thanks so much!

### TL;DR

1. What is the interpretation layer? Is the interpretation layer the one that explains the pattern? Or does it simply imply a generalization of the phenomenon? In the latter case, how do you know if you're generalizing correctly? Do you always need a theory or a model to do this?
2. How do you implement the layers of evidence concept when processing experimental studies? Specifically, what would implementation look like?

• As far as explanation in the social sciences is concerned, I'd be inclined to look at the extensive literature on this. An article on a subject somewhat removed from your immediate concerns nevertheless contains a helpful review: Explanation in Agent-Based Modelling: Functions, Causality or Mechanisms? Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation 15 (3) 1. One could work backwards from the references in the sections that touch on "different kinds of explanation in general and kinds of explanation in the social sciences."

ZK implemented with Zettlr+Pandoc+MikTeX+Zotero+BetterBibTex. Erdös #2.

• @alcantal, I don't know much about these note factors:
"Interpretation of data patterns"
"Layers of evidence"
"Phenomenological layers"
"Generalization of the phenomenon"

But I'd say you have a great rough draft started. It still wants clarification. Below is how I'd handle this note. I'm just guessing about the concept of concept mapping.

I'd atomize this note for starters, and that will lead to seeing interesting connections and gaps as the zettel are linking to existing zettel and each note's completeness is thought about and compared.

1. I'd refactor the top line with the last two paragraphs in a zettel with a title as an example Oday's concept mapping contrasts my experience.

2. I'd refactor the second paragraph into a note Relational Processing won't help in remembering an Idea.

3. I'd refactor the third and fourth paragraph together into a zettel Retrieval practice surfaces gaps linking the term "item-specific retention." (Change the terminology (item-specific recall) in the second note to match.

4. I'd make a fourth zettel with the sixth paragraph titled around concept mapping.

I'd add the sentence that makes up the fifth to the bottom of note 4.

I'd link the zettel that mentions the concept map. Zettel 1, 3, 4. I search the rest of my zettelkasten with the following terms looking for exciting connections. I'd note in my mind where I sensed gaps in the connections.

"processing text"
relationality
item-specific and "item specific" and retention
"concept mapping" and concept OR mapping
retrieval
"study method"
priming

This exercise will show you where your understanding has gaps and point to areas for further study.

I can only guess where these gaps might be. Maybe there is something about the suggestion that 'primming' may be a factor. Maybe this might all fail when applied to generalist-concept retention. On the other hand, maybe you'll be surprised and find interesting answers already in your knowledge system, or maybe these will be identified as gaps, spurring you on to more study.

Will Simpson
I'm a futzing, second-guessing, backtracking, compulsive oversharing, ZK-maniac, in other words, your typical zettelnant.
Research areas: Attention Horizon, Productive Procrastination, Dzogchen, Non-fiction Creative Writing, Cognitive Workload, Python, Data Science
kestrelcreek.com

• @ZettelDistraction the article you linked to was a great starting point! Thanks.

@Will said:
I'd atomize this note for starters, and that will lead to seeing interesting connections and gaps as the zettel are linking to existing zettel and each note's completeness is thought about and compared.

1. I'd refactor the top line with the last two paragraphs in a zettel with a title as an example Oday's concept mapping contrasts my experience.

2. I'd refactor the second paragraph into a note Relational Processing won't help in remembering an Idea.

3. I'd refactor the third and fourth paragraph together into a zettel Retrieval practice surfaces gaps linking the term "item-specific retention." (Change the terminology (item-specific recall) in the second note to match.

4. I'd make a fourth zettel with the sixth paragraph titled around concept mapping.

I'd add the sentence that makes up the fifth to the bottom of note 4.

I'd link the zettel that mentions the concept map. Zettel 1, 3, 4.

Thanks @Will for the specific instructions! The single sentences in the example I showed above were actually title ideas for their succeeding paragraph/s. For the other notes, I had a hard time turning them into atomic notes simply because I couldn't come up with a title.

So I'm starting to appreciate when you said in one of your videos that "titling is a superpower," and we really need to take it seriously. Those titles you mentioned were angles I wasn't able to see, so I may have to refactor these notes.

The only guideline I have about "titling" my notes is "zettel titles should talk entirely about the contents."

Oh, now that I think about it...

If you're having trouble titling your note, should you take that as a signal that your note can still be "atomized"?

I search the rest of my zettelkasten with the following terms looking for exciting connections. I'd note in my mind where I sensed gaps in the connections.

"processing text"
relationality
item-specific and "item specific" and retention
"concept mapping" and concept OR mapping
retrieval
"study method"
priming

This exercise will show you where your understanding has gaps and point to areas for further study.

I can only guess where these gaps might be. Maybe there is something about the suggestion that 'primming' may be a factor. Maybe this might all fail when applied to generalist-concept retention. On the other hand, maybe you'll be surprised and find interesting answers already in your knowledge system, or maybe these will be identified as gaps, spurring you on to more study.

Got it. It seems that we need to be as rigorous in searching links as in studying