3.2 THE BACKGROUND TO THE STANDARD PROCEDURE

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For something that claims to be a structured interview, the grid procedure is,

nevertheless, a strange and somewhat peculiar way of asking questions. But if

you’ve followed the argument in Chapter 2, and, particularly, if you’ve read

the theoretical background, you’ll recognise the reasons behind each of the 10

steps.

. Constructs represent meaning, and meaning is conveyed in terms of

similarities and contrasts: that’s the reason for steps 4 and 5.

. Words encode the meaning which exists in a construct, but the words

themselves aren’t the meaning. Other words could encode the same

meaning more effectively (where the purpose is for the interviewee to

share his or her meaning with you, and not for you to impose your own

meaning!): that’s the reason for step 6.

. The way in which a person construes (understands) the elements is

indicated by the way in which they are arranged between the two

extremes represented by the two opposing poles: that’s the reason for

steps 7, 8, and 9.

If you haven’t already done so, go back over the indented material (the

comments on theory) in Chapter 2 and read it thoroughly.

By now, it should be apparent that, though there are several points of simple

procedure which should be followed exactly to use the technique properly, the

advantage of a grid lies in its flexibility. The same procedure can be used for

many different purposes, with an enormous variety of topics, with various

kinds of elements to suit.

And quite apart from the basic technique, there are also some guidelines

which are worth addressing when designing a grid for a particular purpose.

(At this point, you might like to refer again to Table 2.1.)