We routinely use a broad range of different elicitation methods for different purposes.
We don't use interviews, questionnaires and focus groups very much, because those methods aren't able to access the various types of semi-tacit knowledge properly, and they're worse than useless when dealing with truly tacit knowledge.
The diagram below gives a brief overview of the different types of knowledge. Our full framework of knowledge types contains several sub-divisions of each of the three main types below. Interviews, questionnaires and focus groups are only able to access explicit knowledge consistently.
We've written in more detail about this framework, and about choosing appropriate elicitation methods, in this article
, which contains references to further resources.
: For finding out about people's categorisations. Easy to use, and efficient.
Hard case technique
: Using a difficult case from the past to uncover problem-solving strategies.
Laddering: For eliciting goals, explanations and classifications. (Download)
: A simple, efficient way of eliciting explanations, goals and classifications.
: Best practice in using Likert scales and Likert-style scales to gather quantitative data.
: Seeing what people actually do, as opposed to what they tell you or think that they do.
: Best practice in using questionnaires, and in knowing when to use them.
: Using people's accounts of their own, and other people's, actions to access semi-tacit knowledge.
: Systematically using "what-if" cases to explore possibilities.
: Using systematic observation to gain insights into reasoning and behaviour.
: A way of recording activities systematically and quantitatively.