Dive strategy

The DIVE strategy helps to question implicit bias and consider multiple perspectives when confronted
with unfamiliar intercultural situations or ambiguous circumstances.

DIVE stands for Describe, Interpret, Verify and Evaluate

Look at a picture, person or situation and describe what you see, sticking to objective and observable facts. Do not think about the meaning behind what you see or how it makes you feel, but rather focus on what you can observe and describe.

Think of the various interpretations as to what is going on; draw on a wide range of assumptions that come into your mind to describe the picture, person or situation.

Step 3: VERIFY
Now double-check whether your interpretations are correct – talk to cultural and knowledgeable informants and draw on reliable and multiple sources that give you trustworthy insights into the context to understand it and look beyond the seemingly obvious.

The final step should help you to evaluate your own interpretation and engage in a reflective loop. Decide what value the previous interpretation has to you and how you feel about your judgement now that you have more information? How accurate was your first impulse? What do you learn from that?

This video shows how implicit bias can be addressed by applying the DIVE strategy:

Viewing time 7:41 min

To get back to the picture shown in the video – what this is really all about is the

Semana Santa procession with people wearing the traditional garment of the holy week in Spain. The so-called Nazarenos (based on the people of Nazareth) in their tall, pointy hats and matching robes with their faces completely covered are frequently confused with the KKK.

This example illustrates that unconscious bias is likely to colour our assumptions and decisions without realizing it. To lessen the impact of implicit prejudice, it is important to raise awareness of it by

– Deliberately slowing down decision making
– Reconsidering reasons for decisions and assumptions
– Questioning cultural stereotypes and identifying our own biases
– and verifying interpretations

The DIVE strategy may serve as a useful tool to differentiate between description, interpretation and evaluation and is an effective approach to change one’s microbehaviours. It encourages us to take more informed decisions based on analysis rather than instinct.

How to apply the DIVE strategy in classroom settings

Now that the participants understand the DIVE strategy and know how to make use of it, break the class up into groups of four and distribute different pictures. Ask them to apply the DIVE model and write down the answers for each of the four steps. Once finished, participants should report back as a group and review whether their initial classifications were correct.

Next, compare some of the descriptions, interpretations and evaluations of the picture across the different groups. Are there communalities? How are they different? How did they verify their interpretations? What did they learn from that?

Finally, the participants will be curious about the “real” interpretation of the picture. After they report back, it may be helpful to share the photographer’s interpretation of the situation or clarify the context.

Final reflection

To make meaning of this activity, it is vital to engage in a final reflection. This can be done by asking the following questions

– What is your key takeaway from this classroom activity?
– How easy or difficult was it for you to differentiate between description, interpretation and evaluation?
– How were your own considerations influenced once you heard about the descriptions, interpretations and evaluations of the others?
– How can you see this tool in your everyday life?

Source: M. Gaisch 2019 / University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria