Flavour School | Dissection | Detection | Following

What is a banana? Let’s describe it by following it in both time and space!

As mentioned in Description, you have four descriptive methods at your disposal when attempting to elaborate a definition. One of these four descriptive methods is the Following method.

What is following?

In its simplest formulation, this method involves describing an object by following it in both time and space to see not only what other forms it may have taken in the past, but also what other forms it may still take in the future. Following is sort of like forensic or detective work–one follows ‘clues’ to see where (else) they lead. The Following method can be summarized in two sets of four questions grouped as either Backward– or Forward-looking questions:


  1. Where was the specimen just before it came into your possession?
  2. Where was it before that?
  3. Where was it before that?
  4. And before that…? And before that…? And before that…? Etc.


  1. Where will the specimen go after it leaves your possession?
  2. Where will it go after that?
  3. Where will it go after that?
  4. And after that…? And after that…? And after that…? Etc.

Following is actually a research method practiced by environmental historians, cultural geographers, food studies scholars, and other social scientists.

Some useful following tools…

  • Wikipedia
  • Science textbooks available in the classroom
  • Food labels
  • Store labels and/or brochures
  • Supermarket websites
  • Investigative journalism (e.g., The Guardian, The NYTimes)
  • Scholarly articles from Food Studies
  • Non-fiction (trade) books
  • Podcasts
  • Personal qualities such curiosity, patience, persistence, and organization
  • The camera feature of a mobile phone (or tablet)
  • Lab Notebook


  1. Your teacher asks that you record all of your Following method work in your Lab Notebook.
  2. Your Following method work should be identified by a title that closely resembles the following example: Banana weeLAB™ – Description (Following)
  3. Your final ‘followed’ definition should be boxed (i.e., enclosed in a neatly drawn rectangle) and labelled by a title placed just outside–and above–the top left corner of the box (the title should be “Followed definition”).
  4. Finally, you should perform a word count of your final followed definition and list this word count just outside–and under–the bottom right corner of the boxed definition.

If you have successfully navigated your way through all seven(!) of the elaboration methods, then it’s likely you are now in possession of a highly developed, wonderfully refined, well-elaborated definition of your original specimen. In other words, you are now ready to put this definition into a final weePORT™.

Proceed to weePORTs™

Last updated: September 2019