4.1.1Questions About the Elements

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(1) When I did Exercise 3.2, I was a bit pushed for time and used only four elements. It

seemed to work out okay. But your Figure 3.1 has space for 10 elements. Should I

always use 10 elements or can I use more; or fewer?

You can use as many elements as you wish in order to cover the topic well,

and to encourage your interviewee to provide as many constructs as possible.

Just make up a grid sheet like Figure 3.1 for your own use, with as many

element columns as you need.

For most uses, five elements is probably too few, and more than 12, too many;

but I have seen grids with as many as 20 elements included. There’s more on

this in Section 4.2 below.

(2) Is there any rhyme or reason for the particular combinations of three elements at a

time used in eliciting constructs?

Yes. The idea is to help the interviewee to arrive at a completely different

construct each time, and this is helped by offering a different combination of

elements. Think about it: a triad consisting of elements 1, 2, and 3, followed by

a triad consisting of elements 1, 2 and 4, 1, 2, and 5, etc., might result in an

interviewee ‘stuck’ on the same construct or constructs. Use triads whose

element combinations don’t repeat, as far as possible.

When you make up the grid sheet, mark the particular triads you’re going to

offer for each construct, onto the blank grid sheet itself, in advance.