When reading what might be called Lundy and McGovern’s meta-meta-narrative (i.e. the interpreted results of the interviews) I looked for information on how sources were cited. These are the sorts of phrases I found: “according to respondents”, “many”, ”there was evidence”, “most”, “the vast majority”, “It was felt”, “respondents”, “in the main”, “for many”, “many people”, “there was a very strong opinion”, “it was felt”, “there was a consensus”. “for the majority of participants”, “without exception”, “many interviews”, “overwhelmingly”, “for others”, “some”, “for these respondents”, “one of the most frequently mentioned”, “it was further suggested”, “most respondents”, “the view”, “it was further suggested”, in general respondents were of the view that”, “the experience of those involved…would seem to suggest”, “some respondents”, “the overwhelming majority”, “responses from Union representatives were”, “for some”, “a representative of the community sector”, “that said, others were”, “by another interviewee”. “it was”, and “a significant section of mainly nationalist interviewees”.
The second hurdle is that the network description of the relationships between the participants views is a snapshot in time. But an evaluation usually requires comparison, with a prior state. This is a problem if the questions asked by Lundy and McGovern were about current opinions. but if they were about changes in people's views it would not be.
Lets return to the layer below, the stories collected in the original “Ardoyne: The Untold Truth” publications. Stories beget stories. The telling of one can prompt the telling of another. If stories can be seen as linked in this way, then as the number number of stories recounted grows we could end up with a network of stories. Some stories in that network may be told more often than others, because they are connected to many others, in the minds of the storytellers. These stories might be what complexity science people call "attractors" Although storytellers may start off telling various different stories, their is a likelihood many of them will end up telling this particular story, because of its connectedness, its position in the network. If these stories are negative, in the sense of provoking antipathy towards others in the same community, then this type of structure may be of concern. Ideally the attractors, the highly connected stories in the network would be positive stories, encouraging peace and cooperation with others. This network structure of stories could be explored by an evaluator asking questions like "What other stories does this story most remind you off? or, "Which of these stories does that story most remind you of?" Or versions thereof. When comparing changes over time the evaluator's focus would then be on the changing contents of the strongly connected versus weakly connected stories.
One point which he does not make, but which I think is implicit in his discription of how change can happen in complex systems is that more than one type of small change can trigger the same kind of large scale change. Consider the assissination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in Sarajevo in June 1914. Would World War 1 not have happened if that event took place? Not speaking as a historian..my guess is that there are quiet a few other events that could have triggered the start of a war thereafter.
PS: "In recent years, however, advancements in cognitive neuroscience have suggested that memories unfold across multiple areas of the cortex simultaneously, like a richly interconnected network of stories, rather than an archive of static files." in The Fully Immersive Mind of Oliver Sacks
PS 25 October 2010. Please also see Networks of self-categorised stories