Three Layers of Evidence
edited May 2019 in Project: Zettelkasten.de
Three Layers of Evidence
The Zettelkasten note-taking method has made book writing and writing scientific papers easy for hundreds of years already.
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Great deep dive into creative knowledge work. This is the reason I stick around this forum, to be exposed to nuggets like this. I love the actionable flavor of the post. Thank you @Sascha. You and @ctietze are an inspiration to up my game and improve my thinking practices. I'm certain I'm not alone in my appreciation for these gifts.
My peak cognition is behind me. One day I will read my last book, write my last note, eat my last meal, and kiss my sweetie for the last time.
Hypothesis: drowning in swimming pools and electricity consumption (for air conditioning) are both driven by extended warm weather.
Great post @Sascha. Much appreciated. The clear explanation of the three layers, how they relate to one another, and the practical examples were very instructive. Being able to see how the synthesis layer varies depending on the data and the interpretation of it (which both remain constant), was a big help. (It seems like you're really dialing in your interpretation and application of the ZK method. Can't wait for the course!)
Thanks for your kind words.
@Eurobubba To many factors. Heightened wealth and prosperity could contribute as well.
I am a Zettler
Thanks for a very informative post. I'm wondering, which method would be better to use: having phenomena in a separate note from the interpretation, or having them in the same note. On the one hand, it seems more flexible to have them in separate notes - I could theoretically have several interpretations of the same data and several trains of thought based on the same source data. On the other hand just writing notes that state facts I've read without any interpretation seems a bit dry. Then again, the Kant example resonates with me: there may be source data I don't even know how to interpret yet, thus having a purely phenomenological note makes sense. How do you approach this? Is it plausible to have a combination of both: sometimes having total separation of the three layers, sometimes integrating them into one note?
If you> @ptohver said:
When I have a source, I first try to be very acurate with describing it. The value is the filtering and the compression. You should need less words to make the same statement better.
I seperate those layers not necessary by putting them in seperate Zettel. But when I have more than one interpretation I make this step to keep my Zettelkasten clean.
I am a Zettler
You are very welcome.
I am a Zettler
I often refer back to this post. I really liked it, and it helps me to remember some important concepts.
I read a book about communication and was introduced to a concept named "clarity over comfort". It refers to the idea that it is important to communicate precisely, even if it can be uncomfortable.
1. Is this a "layer 1" idea? Like "Concept: Clarity over comfort (source: author X opinion)"
2. Or this is a "layer 2" idea? Like "(In a specific work situation) it's important to be precise even if it may bother someone."
3. Or is this both "layer 1" and "layer 2"? A note for the concept and another note with the interpretation about when and how to use that concept?
4. OR, (in your opinion) should I use this not-backed idea as a start point to research the topic and create a note only after that?
It would be nice to receive some ideas from you.
Then, is it appropriate to say that the relationships between the first, second, and third layers are "increasing generalizations"?
For example, I have two "pattern" notes:
"Partial context before learning resulted in less comprehension and recall than full context"
"Context before learning a passage improved comprehension and recall better than more exposure"
So my interpretation was:
"Prior knowledge must serve as semantic context to aid future learning"
Description: Having partial context did not significantly improve comprehension and recall than having no context
Interpretation: Coherence is required to form semantic contexts from prior knowledge
But, how do I synthesize them? Say that I'm going to use all the interpretation notes above:
"Prior knowledge must serve as semantic context to aid future learning" and "Coherence is required to form semantic contexts from prior knowledge"
Would the note below be a good enough way to synthesize the interpretations, assuming that this note is going to be actively developed in the future?
20210617184509 Σ Textbook Reading Workflow
Choosing your materials
Aim for coherence when reading
Obviously, that was a mock example, but would that be roughly how you'd implement it? I really don't know if I'm implementing it right, despite re-reading and trying to implement this for a few weeks.
A concrete example (in Zettels, rather than in principle) of implementing the three layers would help a lot.
(Apologies for the double post)
@Sascha Here you said: (my emphasis for context)
Going down to the examples:
I'm confused about "interpreting why you saw the pattern" and "the concept of causality" in these examples. Do they simply mean that the interpretation layer is the one that explains the pattern, or is it a generalization of the phenomenon?
Overall, I figured that this may be a better question to sum up everything:
What are some good personal prompts we can use so we can go from a lower to a higher layer?
Would it be appropriate to ask:
Four. Neither an observed pattern (regularity) nor an interpretation (at this point). But I suppose that the author gives empirical reasoning behind his advice (e.g. "I observed many people and the best people did this and that. So, do this and that."). The mock sentence of mine has both an observed pattern and an interpretation (here, in the form of advice).
I am a Zettler
The thing is: I really like that book, but, yes, you are right about the author's empirical reasoning. I think that idea was a piece of good advice, but I agree that I can go deeper.
@Sascha Forgot to comment on this post, but I guess it's never too late. So, thank you so much for this post. Really wonderful advice. It clearly separates what happens in a Zettelkasten in a very satisfying way.
Also, thank you for your video on processing empirical studies and the layers. Your explanation cleared up doubts that I had.
However, two doubts remain so far. Mind helping me to clear them up too?
Firstly, what do I do if I want to interpret something based on prior interpretations? E.g.: Imagine the following items:
In item 2, I want to interpret the pattern by using my interpretation in item 2. I guess I could use the synthesis layer. But then, it seems kind of... redundant? E.g.:
And then the other doubt. To keep the related notes together, links are useful. But, what do you put in the context for the link? I see only two situations: Links to a layer above or below. See the "diagram" below for reference:
Pattern <-> Interpretation <-> Synthesis
For links to the layer below, I've been using the abstract, sometimes paraphrased.
Then, for links to layers above, it depends on the context. E.g.: If I'm explaining why something works, I may make an argument that more or less says:
But I'm curious about how you tackle this.
Mh. It really depends on the actual patterns and interpretations at hand.
But the pattern in item 1 looks more like an product of synthesised interpretation. Any "How To" is already a synthesis of an obversation of a pattern, an interpretation (e.g. hypothesis on cause and effect) and the merging of the interpretation and a goal.
Keep in mind that Y cannot be scientifically derived but only religiously or ideologically. (Having a dogma)
I don't think you need to be so overly formal about this: You need a place in which so observe and describe the patterns, a place in which you interprete these interpretations and a place in which you synthesis interpretations.
It does not matter if it is all on one note, multiple notes or else. At least, not in general. Probably, it matters for the specific use case.
I am a Zettler