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Research article2017Peer reviewed

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

      SLU Authors

    • Sustainable Development Goals

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

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

      Publication identifier


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