The Repertory Grid method is part of a widely used set of techniques for studying personal and interpersonal systems of meaning. Repertory grids have been used in thousands of studies of a broad variety of topics, ranging from children’s understandings of physical science principles and consumer preferences, to formal structures of self-reflection within cognitive science and the mutual validation of belief systems between friends.
The technique was initially designed by George Kelly, author of personal construct psychology (PCP), as a means of assessing the content of an individual’s repertory of role constructs—the unique system of interconnected meanings that define his or her perceived relationships to others. In its simplest form, it requires the respondent to compare and contrast successive sets of three significant people (e.g., my mother, my father, and myself), and formulate some important way in which two of the figures are alike, and different from the third. For example, if prompted with the above triad, a person might respond, “Well, my mother and I are very trusting of people, whereas my dad is always suspicious of their motives.” This basic dimension, trusting of people vs. suspicious of their motives, would then be considered one of the significant themes or constructs that the person uses to organize, interpret, and approach the social world, and to define his or her role in it [more...].
A an example blank Repertory Grid for eliciting constructs around values is shown below. Click here to download a blank grid in PDF format.
|Example of Repertory Grid Form
- Take a Grid Sheet for each of the values you have selected.
- Write its name and descriptor into the space provided.
- Then think of four people, two who live this value well (put their initials in the space provided above 'good'), two who don't live that value well (put their initials in the space provided above 'poor'). Put your initials in the space above 'me'. The remaining column marked 'ideal' is for reflecting about a person living that value to perfection.
- Now take three people at a time (say one good and two poor, then me plus two good, then ideal plus one good and one poor, etc). As you take each set of three in turn, think of what two of them have in common in terms of living that value and how the other person lives that value differently from the other two. Mark 'o' under the two that have something in common and 'x' under the person who is different. In the left column under constructs, write what the two have in common. In the right column under constructs, write how the one person is different. Repeat this step until all possible combinations of three are exhausted (you will need more than one sheet per value) and you have done this for all the values you selected.
- When completed, transcribe the construct pairs elicited for all sets of three people for each value onto a separate sheet.
Some sample construct pairs are shown below:
|Sample Construct Pairs for the Value: Truth/Wisdom/Integrated Insight