Coordinated management of meaning (CMM): A research manual. Chagrin Falls, OH: Taos Institute Publications.

Three post-graduate students from Columbia University, Filippa Naka, Adrian Jofre Bosch and Shengjie Ma, review the second in our Focus Book series.
Natasha A. Rascon’s and Stephen W. Littlejohn’s Coordinated Management of Meaning (CMM): A Research Manual introduces the reader to an al k and analysis across the book provide the reader with brief, although useful, information and practical tools, to help in using CMM as a research method. We found the CMM tools described in the book to be very useful in our research up to this point.

Throughout the book, the explanation of CMM is organized around the different forms of communication and processes, and the models used to understand them, such as the Daisy and the Serpentine models. These models serve as options for the reader to choose for their research. For instance, the Daisy model is mostly used for a description of an interaction, while the Serpentine model could be used for a set of interactions that could be troublesome.

In the first part of the book, the authors introduce the DICA model that describes four types of CMM research. The description step is related to what exactly is occurring in an incident being examined, while interpretation aims at understanding the formation of social worlds. Critique is focused on getting to know the issues that have been experienced concerning the methods of communication. The last stage is action, which aims at executing the findings from the data found in previous steps of analysis. These four types could be used as sequential or individual steps, depending on the intentions of the researcher and the level of depth he or she wants to go into. Towards the end of the book, the reader is introduced to the SEAVA process, which is a more complex form of the DICA.

As students who have been recently introduced to qualitative research, this book helped us gain the basic knowledge needed at this point for our research. We found the clearly explained contexts in which description, interpretation, critique and action tools are applied to in the book to be very helpful. The numerous research examples that are provided to the reader, as well as the simplicity of description also helped our understanding. Additionally, we found very useful the fact that one can choose to use some aspects and tools of CMM in his or her research that will help construct a more refined meaning.

Since qualitative research can be messy, this book provided us with a nice structure and flow about how to gather information in the most meaningful way. This is a great focus book that uses a participatory approach to research, recommended for anyone who is recently introduced to CMM and wants to use it as a research method or just wants to become more familiar with CMM.

For more information on the review: fmn2108@columbia.edu

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