3.2.4 Obtaining Ratings

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You should decide the range of your rating scale in advance. All of my

examples use a 5-point scale, but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t use

a 4-, 6-, or 7-point scale. To use a wider range is probably spurious, since

you’d be asking people to make finer discriminations than they can accurately

express in a consistent way across the whole grid.

You could always emulate Kelly, who generally used a 2-point scale. (In other

words, he asked interviewees to allocate each element either to one pole of the

construct, or to the other, with no in-betweens.) This throws the whole focus of

the grid, and how you use the information obtained, onto the constructs and

Table 3.2 Examples of qualifying statements for different topics

Topic Elements

‘In what way are two of

them the same, and one

different, in terms of . . .’

Learning during teaching

practice

The 8 most important

things that happened to

you on teaching practice

‘. . . what led to you learning,

or otherwise, during your

teaching practice?’

Key competencies in the

analysis of any job

2 effective, 4 average, and

2 ineffective employees

doing that job

‘. . . what he or she does that

makes them particularly

competent at their job?’

Key competencies in the

analysis of any job

The 8 most important

tasks in the job

‘. . . what you particularly

need to know in order to be

good at the job?’

Choosing an occupation 8 occupations being

considered

‘. . . what you’re looking for

from your first job?’

A person’s understanding

of personal change

8 events in your life from

which you really, really

learnt

‘. . . what happened that

helped you, or hindered you,

in learning?’

You need to remind the interviewee occasionally about the negative possibilities: hence ‘. . . what

led to you learning, or otherwise . . . ?’

The use of an qualifying statement will occasionally lead to awkward sentence structures, but

you don’t have to use it obsessively with each triad of elements; just remind your interviewee now

and again.

You’ll have noticed, in the job analysis example, that two different kinds of element are feasible

and, in fact, frequently used: existing job-holders; and key tasks involved in the job. Critical

incidents (Flanagan, 1954) are also commonly used.

their meaning rather than on the numbers, which was, very broadly speaking,

his intention at the time. However, it does limit the information potentially

available from an analysis, and current practice is normally to use a 5- or 7-

point scale.

You should also be careful to record the ratings for a particular construct on

your grid sheet before going on to elicit a new one.

It may happen that your interviewee can’t give you a rating for one of the

elements on a particular construct, stating that the construct doesn’t apply.

There are several reasons why this might be so, and some of them are dealt

with in Section 4.1.3. But, for the moment, the best thing to do in these

circumstances is to check whether the construct applies naturally and

comfortably to the other elements and, if so, to leave the rating for the

‘problematic’ element blank – just don’t rate it.

It’s time to put some of this information to work. Exercise 3.2 asks you to elicit

another grid, to practise some of the techniques which I’ve mentioned.

Please carry out Exercise 3.2 before going on.