Request for advice on laddering and grids
Tue, 2 Mar 1999 18:32:57 +0000

Dear Colleagues

Here's that architect from Aberdeen again, asking more questions from the
pyschologists and others!

After doing those pilot surveys for my PhD. on Building Materials using words
and pictures, I did another one using the laddering technique (up and down).

Two things emerged from my supervision. One supervisor suggested that it
was inappropriate to use constructs that had been elicited from laddering
down in a grid ("they are superordinate constructs and don't tell you anything
more when you carry out a PCA-just use the first constructs elicited from
the cards 3 at a time!"). Is this right?

The same chap suggested that the primary constructs elicited from the cards
first and before the laddering are "more important" than the laddered ones.
When we talked about this, he suggested that the constructs that are more
immediately accesssible to a co-participant (I prefer this term to client)
when giving constructs, are more important than ones that have to be
laddered down. I argued that they might be more "accessible" but not more

And finally; this one will get you going!
All three supervisors (one architect, one psychologist, one polymath) argued
that nobody has really advanced Kelly's basic theory in 40 years and that most
of the work carried out in PCP seems to be a refinement of techniques only.
Is this a fair comment?
This was related in particular to the idea that constructs are possibly related
to genetic "imprinting" that transfers cultural codes from one generation to
the next........ has anyone challenged Kellyian notions of realism based on
experience rather than genetics??

I look forward to any constructive(!) responses!

Best wishes
Fionn Stevenson
Ecological Design Group (EDG)
The Scott Sutherland School of Architecture
The Robert Gordon University
Garthdee Road
Aberdeen AB10 7QB

Tel: ++ 44 (0) 1224 263713
Fax: ++ 44 (0) 1224 263535
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