Concepts in Comparative Causal Mapping
This chapter focuses on the target phenomena in causal mapping. In other words, what are causal maps supposed to represent? Are there perhaps divergent assumptions and interpretations? And if so, what are the implications? Admittedly, questions like these might seem an invitation for trouble and an unnecessary burden. Indeed, it is not unusual to see them bypassed in CCM literature by simply stating at the outset that one proposes to examine a plausible-sounding entity like cognitive maps, defining them tautologically in terms of other abstract notions like knowledge structures or mental models. However, an idea of notions such as mental representations and knowledge, their formation and impact, is necessary to appreciate the nature and complexity of the different cognitive factors and processes which are unavoidably involved in CCM. This is useful also for developing research questions and for understanding what is and what is not methodologically feasible and plausible in CCM research.