Editable Texts
Modeling Information
Action Frame Coding
Adding new entities, people, or actions

Actions, the rightmost popup menu in the darkened area at the top of Ethno, lists actions that you have defined. Select one to examine and modify information on that action. While you are examining an action, three popup menus appear as a second line of menus in the darkened area at the top. The second line of menus allows you to go to entities, people, and acts that you have defined. Entities are things or places. People are individuals, groups, or non-human entities that instigate actions. Acts are verbs in descriptions of actions. Each of the menus has three functions:

Editable Texts

The four boxes on the left of the screen are editable text fields. Click in a box to get a cursor. Then you may type or edit the contents of the box.

The text field labeled Short name of the action and the text box labeled Event description present the short and long descriptions of the action. The short name has a maximum of 35 characters.

The description of an action has important effects on Event Structure Analyses because the description cues judgments about logical interrelations of actions. Usually a more specific description makes it easier to identify logical relations while using the program's linking routine. You can make an action description more specific by identifying more of the elements involved in the action - instrument, alignment of instrument, setting, etc. On the other hand, an action that is described too concretely may never repeat, even though essentially the same thing happens again. Thus, actions described too concretely will make an action structure seem more complex than necessary. So you should try to describe an action with considerable specificity, while avoiding details that hold for just one occurrence.

The text box labeled Source text shows the portion of narrative that you selected when defining the action.

The text box labeled Comments is a place where you may type notes regarding the action. The notes are saved and retrieved as part of the model with the Import-Export option on the Operations menu.

Modeling Information

The middle portion of the Event form presents information accumulated while linking actions, testing a process model, and developing a generalized model. (These procedures are described in the Help messages on linking and on the chart.)

The box labeled Prerequisites shows the actions that must occur before the action being examined can occur.

The box labeled Consequences shows the actions that can occur only after the action being examined has occurred.

Double-clicking an action in the Prerequisites box or in the Consequences box brings the clicked action up in the Action form. The new action replaces the action currently being viewed in the Action form.

The box labeled Summarizes shows concrete actions that have been summarized by the action being examined.

The box labeled Generalizations shows abstract actions that are instantiated by the action being examined.

Clicking on the two checkboxes below the boxes changes parameters of the focal action.

The line beginning with the word "linked" shows whether questions have been answered regarding the prerequisites of the action being examined.

Action Frame Coding

Radio buttons and scrollable lists appear at the right side of the screen. The eight categories - Agents, Acts, Objects, Instruments, Alignments, Settings, Products, and Beneficiaries - are for defining the composition of the action.

Agents are persons or groups engaging in the action. Acts are verbs describing what is happening. Objects are entities or people that change as a result of the action. Instruments are entities or persons or organizations which the agent uses to process the object. Alignments indicate parts of the object, instrument, and setting where the act is focused, often being objects of prepositions in the action description. Settings are encompassing entities within which the act is done. Products are the entities or changed individuals or organizations produced by the action. Beneficiaries are the persons or organizations to whom the product is transferred for use in a subsequent action; beneficiaries include Experiencers, who are perceivers for whom the action is performed.

Here, for example, is an action and its categorizations.

In the emergency room (setting) the doctor (agent) injected (act) a sedative (object) into the raving man's (object) shoulder (alignment) with a hypodermic (instrument) so the nurse (beneficiary) would have a tranquil patient (product).

Coding Procedures

Codes for the Action-Frame categories are generated by making selections from the Entity, Person, and Act pop-up menus. Follow these steps.

  1. Click the radio button for the category you are coding. The button will be highlighted.
  2. If coding an act select the appropriate verb from the Act popup menu. Otherwise, select the appropriate thing from the Entity pop-up menu, or the appropriate person from the Person pop-up menu.
  3. Your selection will appear as a line in the box of the category you are coding.

Deleting Codes

You can delete an element from an action-frame list by double-clicking on the element.

Adding new entities, people, or acts

An entity or person that is not yet in the pop-up menus has to be added. Do this as follows.

  1. Select the top line of the relevant popup menu which says New .... A window for defining an entity, person, or act will appear.
  2. Name the element by typing in the Name of ... text field. Press Enter.
  3. Click the Return to action button. This returns you to the Action window where you were working. At that point the element you just defined is available in the pop-up menus.

Additional uses of the Entity, Person, and Act forms are described in the Associations help message.

URL: www.indiana.edu/~socpsy/ESA/Actions.html