Chapter25

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Research Methods in Education 6th Edition

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Chapter25

  1. 1. PERSONAL CONSTRUCTS © LOUIS COHEN, LAWRENCE MANION & KEITH MORRISON
  2. 2. STRUCTURE OF THE CHAPTER • Strengths of repertory grid technique • Working with personal constructs • Grid analysis • Some examples of the use of repertory grid in educational research • Difficulties in the use of repertory grid technique in research • Resources
  3. 3. PERSONAL CONSTRUCTS • People actively engage in making sense of and extending their experience of the world. • Personal constructs are the dimensions that we use to conceptualize aspects of our day-to-day world. • People differ from each other in their construction of events. • We use the constructs that we create to forecast events and rehearse situations before their actual occurrence. • Constructs are sometimes organized into groups which embody subordinate and superordinate relationships.
  4. 4. KELLY’S FUNDAMENTAL POSTULATE • A person’s processes are psychologically channelized by the ways in which he or she anticipates events. • Constructs: the ways in which events are construed. • What is to be construed or understood are events or elements. • Constructs are essentially bipolar, that is, capable of being defined in terms of polar adjectives (e.g. happy-sad). • A repertory grid is a representation of the relationship between elements and constructs.
  5. 5. STRENGTHS OR REPERTORY GRID TECHNIQUE • An individualized technique where the respondent provides the framework as well as the responses. • The two-way nature of the data where elements are related to constructs: – Relationships between elements can be assessed, since there is information about each element provided by the set of constructs. – Relationships between constructs can be examined through the information provided for each construct by the set of elements.
  6. 6. WORKING WITH PERSONAL CONSTRUCTS • Choosing elements: – they should be a homogeneous set to ensure that the constructs elicited from some of them will also be relevant to other elements.
  7. 7. WORKING WITH PERSONAL CONSTRUCTS • Eliciting constructs: – Triadic elicitation: choose three elements and ask the participant to specify some important way in which two of them are alike and thereby different from the third. The way in which two were alike forms one pole; the way in which the third differs forms the other pole. – Ask the participant for the opposite to the similarity pole • Elicited versus provided constructs • Allocating elements to constructs
  8. 8. LADDERING • An exploratory technique using implication to move from a pole of a given construct to a pole of an as yet unelicited construct. • Ask the participant to indicate which pole of the given construct is preferred. • Having identified the preferred pole, the participant is then asked ‘Why?’. • The response to this forms one preferred pole of the higher order or implied super-ordinate construct. • The construct can then be completed by asking the participant for the contrasting pole of the new construct. • In turn the participant can then be asked for the preferred pole of this new construct and again asked ‘Why?’ to produce the first pole of the next higher order construct.
  9. 9. PYRAMIDING • Ask respondents to think of a particular ‘element’, a person, and then to specify an attribute which is characteristic of that person. • Then ask the respondent to identify what kind of person would not have that characteristic. • Then return to the first characteristic and ask ‘What more can you tell me about a person who has that characteristic?’ and ‘What is the opposite of that characteristic?’ • Repeat the enquiry similarly for the opposite pole of the first characteristic. • Proceed to inquire similarly of the four construct poles thus elicited. • Two construct poles produce four construct poles and finally eight construct poles.
  10. 10. GRID ANALYSIS • Make all the constructs similarly aligned (all the ‘preferred’ poles at the same end). • Look at relationships between elements and between constructs: – Correlation – Cluster analysis • Looking at the overall grid: – Spatial representation
  11. 11. Spatial representation The longer the line, the more important the construct
  12. 12. DIFFICULTIES IN THE USE OF REPERTORY GRID TECHNIQUE IN RESEARCH • Tension between individuality and commonality. A grid which is elicited wholly from the respondent is the most valid representation of that person’s construing. However research often demands replications across subjects, so that for some purposes there needs to be commonality across respondents. • Bi-polarity problem: When only one pole of the construct is used, unwarranted inferences about constructs’ polar opposites may be made. • Uncertainty about the meaning attached to midpoint ratings.
  13. 13. DIFFICULTIES IN THE USE OF REPERTORY GRID TECHNIQUE IN RESEARCH • Size of grid: – Too small and it does not catch the complexity in which the participant sees the world – Too large and it becomes unwieldy and takes time to collect • Tension between theory and method
  14. 14. RESOURCES • General Resources • Organizations • Freeware programs • Software for purchase

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