The Critical Ladder is an attempt at a simplified view of the application of questions for purposes of investigation and exploration. It can be applied to just about anything, in any domain.
It began with two problems I was trying to solve:
- how to explain the levels of abstraction in human cultures and society and
the relationship between context and content in Information & Communication Technology and Media systems.
I quickly found myself using the far too simplistic “5 Ws” (who, what, when, where, why), which led me to The Powerful Questions. However, I wanted to provide evidence of the structure along which inquiry flows between The Levels of Abstraction (WIP).
How to use The Critical Ladder
Very simply, take any thing—an object, a concept—and asks questions about it.
- How does it work. (This can lead to answers of what, where, when, who type.)
Why is it here? (Pops you up a level of context, of “reasons why.” There too you will find Hows.)
How is it here? (This may lead you downwards, into the details of where it came from, when, through who?)