Saturday, August 12, 2017

See You Triangulater

Perhaps it's true that there's nothing new under the sun, but that doesn't mean that what's already known is necessarily uninteresting. Here's a quick example: I was recently reflecting on how talking to multiple people about their perspectives, finding data from several independent sources, or asking the same question in different ways felt analogous to a technique from surveying, triangulation.

Triangulation is an ancient but still widespread method of mapping a landscape in which a network of points are plotted in relationship to one another, with each point always connected to two others, making triangles. Building one triangle against the next, and the next, and the next allows the whole space under consideration to be covered.

I'm nowhere near the first here, though, as a quick search established:
In the social sciences, triangle is often used to indicate that two (or more) methods are used in a study in order to check the results of one and the same subject ... By combining multiple observers, theories, methods, and empirical materials, researchers can hope to overcome the weakness or intrinsic biases and the problems that come from single method, single-observer and single-theory studies.
So what's my point? Testing frequently involves collations, connections, and comparisons. Triangulation is an interesting model of those activities to consider, for me, right now, even if there's likely no solar system in which it's a novel one.

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