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Also known as Land or Sea method, it is a method to perform evaluations, assessments or for surveying people’s attitudes. One characteristic is the high involvement of participants in a debate around a topical (and ideally controversial) question.

A line is drawn on the floor – can be represented by a rope, and a question that allows a range of answers is proposed. The opposite extremes of the line represent the two more adverse answers on the subject. Participants position themselves along the line according to their opinions, and a facilitator walks around and everyone explains their position. Participants are then encouraged to reposition themselves after having heard the comments in order to check whether they've changed their mind.

It uses a physical space for mapping ideological and philosophical opinions around issues in a fun, dynamic and interactive way. They are required to take part of the activity not only with their head but also with their whole body. [1]

Toolkit.png Conducting a Land or Sea Spectrogram

Step by Step

  1. Lay out colored tape or a rape across an open floor. Ideally the tape stretches 15-20 meters. One end of the tape is marked as “Strongly Agree”, and the opposite end is labeled as “Strongly Disagree”. Cross-marks are made along the line.
  2. Invite participants to move toward the line and positioning themselves depending on their agreement or disagreement toward the statement.
  3. Place yourself into a position: the facilitator “interviews” people along the line, asking them why they are standing where they are: passion is encouraged in describing positioning, and listeners are encouraged to shift their position if the “interviews” alter their thinking and perspective on the question.
  4. Interpret the statements in a free way and means: such statements are deliberately structured to be vague and ambiguous to encourage participation.
  5. Doing wisely rephrasing and merging comments, the facilitator can progressively accompany the group to build a consensus on the way to go.
  6. Reach a consensus; where it is still hard to reach, the facilitator can acknowledge that explicitly and:
    • ask to the group if they agree on using the traditional vote method to make the decision;
    • ask to the group if they agree in postponing the decision - whenever possible - to allow for missing elements to be reconsidered all together.
  7. Discussion amongst the participants and raise a good “mapping” of the topics and opinions that people want to explore. It may lead in a lot of spontaneous laughter, which is an excellent way to build the energy of the day. [2]

Job Aid

Pdf.png Using Spectrograms


  1. www.kstoolkit.org (30 July 2009)
  2. facilitation.aspirationtech.org (30 July 2009)