4.2 CAPTURING MEANING BY USING A GRID

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We’re doing all this in order to understand the other person in their own

terms. We want to capture the significance which their experience has for

them. We seek to capture their meaning, and a construct is our basic unit of

analysis. It’s the basic unit of meaning which expresses the implicit contrasts

with which the individual understands his or her world.

In one sense, so long as we identify the other person’s constructs accurately, as

s/he understands them, and are sure of it since we’ve checked with the

interviewee, it doesn’t really matter how we do so. But four things are

important and should pertain whenever you depart from the standard 10-

point procedure outlined in Section 3.1.2:

. You should know exactly why you’re doing so.

. You should encourage depth of detail whatever else you’re doing.

. You should be encouraging clarity and specificity, as well as depth.

. You should continue to treat the interviewee as the ultimate authority about

him- or herself.

The 10-point procedure outlined in Section 3.1.2 is simply one way of

achieving all this. It’s economic and effective and, like any technique, it has to

be done properly. But there are other techniques and, so long as these four

attributes are present, anything goes when eliciting constructs!

In doing a grid, you will find the following variants useful, and as your

experience with grids grows, you will find yourself moving between them, as

the flow of conversation between yourself and the interviewee demands.