SEBE Analysis

SEBE is a family of techniques and the analysis depends upon the goals of research. The most frequent method is to create a coding grid based on a subsample of the subcam videos to screen significant events relevant to the research question, refined by the contents of the RIW. The recordings are segmented and labelled with goals/subgoals following Russian Activity Theory, and each relevant segment is then coded with the coding grid.

The validity of analysis is finally checked with the participants themselves and sometimes even with other protagonists of the same scene and/or experts of the domain in cross-interviews.

This technique enables recording natural interaction with objects and other people in unprecedented detail, even in places hardly accessible to the researcher such as private interaction, family or professional settings. The most exciting part, for both researcher and participant, is the peeling frame by frame, layer by layer of the many cognitive factors involved in the most apparently simple and mundane act.

Because we work with the participants, the level of explicitation and the grain of description of the phenomena correspond to “natural” thought and objects as understood by the subjects rather than by the researcher’s fantasy. This helps to avoid (some of) the pitfalls of overkill detail and recondite scientific constructs.

Through detailed analysis of many types of situations with this powerful lens we are able to understand what, in practice, are the determinants of day-to-day actions and their psychological components. A lot of candidate factors that were important in theory appeared to have, in practice, a second order importance, while some others were indeed found to be crucial. Looking at evidence is easier work than speculation.

All the researchers who used the technique consider it is a revolution in psychology, since it solves most of the classic issues of observation and introspection; they simply cannot go back to classic qualitative analysis or ethnography.

← Back