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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2017

Using Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique to Map Beneficiaries' Experiences and Values: A Case Example From the Sanitation Sector

Kokko, Suvi; Lagerkvist, Carl Johan


Using a case example of an innovative sanitation solution in a slum setting, this study explores the usefulness of the Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique in a program planning and evaluation context. Using a qualitative image-based method to map people's mental models of ill-structured problems such as sanitation can aid program planners and evaluators in understanding how a program can fit the reality of beneficiaries. The technique is a tool for investigating what beneficiaries think about specific problems a program is aimed at solving and their underlying beliefs. The results offer a comprehensive hierarchical value map of different types and levels of insights into parents' thoughts and feelings about school sanitation and their child's well-being, often expressed as desired values, goals, or end states. Based on the results, a discussion is provided about the usefulness of the technique in the given context.


Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique; mental models; sanitation; evaluation; planning

Published in

American Journal of Evaluation
2017, volume: 38, number: 2, pages: 205-225

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Economics
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Economics

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG11 Sustainable cities and communities
SDG3 Good health and well-being

UKÄ Subject classification

Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

Publication Identifiers


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