The Elements

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How did the interviewee respond to the elements you proposed? If they were

proposed by the interviewee, did you use them all? Which ones didn’t you

use, and why not? – does this tell you anything about the way the interviewee

views the topic?

If you used eliciting statements to choose elements, which elements were

offered under which characteristic? In a grid which evaluated a training

programme, for example, suppose you agreed on the element set proposed by

the interviewee in response to a request to think of two training sessions that

were ‘very good’, two that were ‘poor’, and two in between. You could glean

some useful information simply by seeing which actual training sessions were

proposed in each category, and how readily the interviewee proposed them,

even before you see how they were construed in the grid itself.

If you’re conducting a classroom exercise in which you want to discover and

discuss how pupils construe the eight most important social developments of

the twentieth century, and you ask each pupil to nominate their eight as

elements, then a simple examination and classroom discussion of all their

elements is surely de rigueur if you wish to understand their perspective on

recent social history before you start eliciting their constructs!