- The Human Geographical Society of Japan
- 人文地理 (ISSN:00187216)
- vol.25, no.5, pp.493-522, 1973-10-29 (Released:2009-04-28)
Geography is a “field science” in the sense that it needs field work. In spite of it, the methodology on field work is not yet satisfactory through various branches of science including geography. Present article is a rough sketch and comments on the personal history of my inquiry into the methodology of field work, especially in the fields of geography and ethnology. In particular, a method of idea generation named KJ Method which was generated by me was explained in detail.For the purpose of recording field data, I devised a form of data card (abbreviated as DC; cf. Fig. 1). In order to classify a file of DC, I tried to adopt the classification table of HRAF (Human Relations Area Files). Soon, however, I understood that classification only was much unsatisfactory for a field worker who sought for true integration of data. Quite different from classification and analysis, another unknown methodology for the purpose of “Facts speak for themselves” must exist.In around 1951, I obtained a first hint for this purpose. And my work “Ethno-Geographical Observations on the Nepal Himalaya” (in Peoples of Nepal Himalaya, ed. by H. Kihara) became the first output along this new method of data processing. Later on, this methodology was greatly improved by myself and named KJ-M. in 1965 by various men. It was a nickname in origin. The first book systematically written on this methodology “Hassôhô” (Abduction) was published in 1967. (cf. References.) This method was welcomed very much, firstly in the fields of company management, business and engineering and gradually in the field of education and science.In the basic KJ-M, there are four essential steps: a) label making, b) label grouping, c) chart making, d) explanation. Label making is to record one concept on a label usually in the form of sentence. (Rarely in the form of any picture.) Surrounding a theme, as rich variety of labels as possible are collected. Label grouping is attained through the repetition of the steps of making teams of labels and title making. Through this process, a number of labels are organized, not by the classification based on some pre-conceived ideas but according to the appeals of original labels. In the step of chart making, these organized labels are spreaded spacially on a sheet according to the recognition of natural relationship among the titles or labels. At last a multi-layered complex relationship between the labels is presented in a chart. Then the last step “explanation” is applied to this chart, i.e. explanatory story making connecting all labels in writings or by verbal explanation.Using the basic KJ-M. repeatedly, we can challenge highly complex problem solvings. A full process of the basic KJ-M. was named “a round”. Multi-round application of this method is called the Cumulative KJ Method (C-KJ). When a C-KJ is applied along the course of problem solving shown in the W-shaped chart (Cf. Fig. 3 and Fig. 7), this method is most fruitful.Using the steps of field work→recording DC→using KJ-M. and C-KJ, chaotic field data can be organized heuristically. The course of data processing is clear and open to anyone who wants to know it. Plenty of hints, hypotheses and generalization arise on the way and in conclusions. These suggestions are not harmful because of subjective judgement but welcomed because of stimuli to readers, as the grounds and processes which bore these suggestions are offered to them frankly. The readers may agree with the author or oppose him. In both cases, both parties will receive desirable stimuli through the dialogue. Thus a basic recognition that data are never facts and the means of observation and data processing intervene between the two leads to the truly scientific and charming geography or ethnography.