9.1 IDENTIFYING PERSONAL CHANGES IN CONSTRUING

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Whenever you elicit a grid on a topic, you do so from a particular individual,

in a particular place, and at a particular time. It’s rather like a photograph – a

snapshot of that person’s views at that time and place – and all of the

procedures in this guide are intended to enable you to describe your

interviewee’s construing at that point in time – to take and develop the

photograph, as it were – as accurately as possible.

But because elicitation is an interpersonal process, there is always something

of yourself in a grid. A photo of Marilyn Monroe by Bert Stern shows a rather

different Marilyn to a photo by Sam Shaw, and for the same reason: portrait

photography, too, is an interpersonal process. If we elicit two grids from the

same person, and they differ from each other, we need to be sure that the

difference is one of substance (our interviewee has changed their mind) rather

than of appearance, resulting from the way we handled the interview on each

of the occasions.

What we shall be doing is highlighting the differences in two snapshots taken

on two separate occasions, concentrating on the differences of substance, and

taking comfort from the fact that, if we’re careful with our use of technique,

differences due to presentation will be relatively small because the interviewer

(ourselves!) is the same on both occasions, and we are doing our best to keep

the presentation the same.

What kinds of changes are observable? Broadly speaking, any pair of grids

elicited from the same person on two separate occasions can vary in two

particular ways. Assuming that the topic stays the same,

(a) the interviewee may simply alter some of the ratings of the original grid

(elements and constructs remaining as before); or

(b) some of the constructs may be different, with some new constructs added,

and perhaps several of the original ones dropped. This will inevitably

mean altered ratings. If some or all of the elements are also new, you

would certainly expect to see new constructs as well as different ratings.

In the case of two different topics, of course, we are likely to have situation (b)

rather than (a), since, as you’ll remember from Section 2.1.1, it is unlikely that

the range of convenience of the original constructs is so wide that they can all

be used, without addition, when the topic changes.

The smaller the difference in the two grids, the easier it is to suggest a

procedure, and the more straightforward the procedure will be. Let’s start

with the simplest case.