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A Manual for Repertory Grid Technique, 2nd Edition

ISBN: 978-0-470-85490-7
280 pages
November 2003
A Manual for Repertory Grid Technique, 2nd Edition (0470854901) cover image


First published in 1977, this now classic manual has been completely revised and updated to reflect the enormous changes that have taken place both in the popularity of repertory grid methods and in the study of the methods themselves.

Aimed at novices as well as those already knowledgeable about grid usage, this manual provides an overview of George Kelly’s personal construct theory, which underpins repertory grid methods. The reader will learn how to design a grid, with guidance on how to choose elements and ways of eliciting personal constructs that can influence the results obtained.


The second edition includes multiple examples of grids, as well as:

  •  New chapters on the main computer methods of analysis available
  •  Supporting website with grid analysis programs available to download
  • Extended annotated bibliography of the many examples of grid usage

This book will appeal to psychology students, practitioners and academics. Other professionals who will find this an invaluable guide include managers, teachers and educationalists, speech and language therapists, nurses, probation officers and psychiatrists.


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Table of Contents

About the Authors ix

Preface xi

Acknowledgements xiii

1. The Basis of Repertory Grid Technique 1

Grids: What Are They? 1

The Grid as Part of Personal Construct Theory 5

Grids: a Measure of What? 5

Grids are about Constructs 7

Some Personal Construct Theory Corollaries 9

Different Kinds of Construct 12

Constructs in Transition 12

Conclusions 12

2. Constructs And Elements 15

What is an Element? 15

What is a Construct? 15

Elements in a Grid 18

The Nature and Types of Constructs in a Grid 23

Ways of Eliciting Personal Constructs from ’Elements’ 27

Eliciting Personal Constructs in Ways other than from ’Elements’ 30

Eliciting Constructs from Constructs 39

To Elicit or to Supply Constructs? 46

Classification of Constructs 49

Which are more Important in a Grid – Elements or Constructs? 50

Constructs and Elements: the Debate 50

Comment 52

3. Varieties Of Grid In Use Today 54

The Grid Form of the Role Construct Repertory Test 54

The Split-Half Method of Allocating Elements 56

A Grid Using Rankings 56

A Grid Using Ratings 59

Implications and Resistance-to-Change Grids 65

Resistance-to-Change Grid 70

A Bipolar Implications Grid 73

Dependency Grid 76

A Textual Grid 78

A Qualitative Grid 79

Comment 80

4. Analyzing Grid Data 82

Repertory Grids 82

Analyzing Constructs 83

Analyzing Elements 91

Joint Representations of Constructs and Elements 93

Representations of Multiple Repertory Grid Data 98

Dependency Grids 101

Implications Grids 104

Comments 108

5. Some Summary Measures Of Structure 113

Cognitive Complexity 114

Extremity and Ordination 121

Conflict 122

Element Indices 124

Measures of Superordinacy 126

Measures of Intransitivity 127

Implications Grids 128

Dependency Grids 129

Comment 130

6. Reliability and Validity 132

Reliability 132

Conclusions 143

Validity 143

Conclusions 151

7. Specific Ways Of Using Grids 153

The Individual and the Grid 154

A Decision-Making Grid 162

Wholly or Partially Standardized Grid Formats 163

Conclusions 167

8. Some Uses To Which Grids Have Been Put 168

Grids in General 169

In the Clinical Setting 170

Working with Children 188

Teachers and Teaching 192

The Construing of Professionals 195

Those With Learning Difficulties 196

Social Relationships 199

Language 204

Dependency 210

The Use and Abuse of Drugs 211

The Family 212

Forensic Work 213

Maps, Planning and Environment 215

Market Research 217

Politics 218

Careers 219

Sport 220

Organizational and Business Applications 220

More Unusual Uses of Grids 226

Appendix Computer Programs and Websites 230

References 232

Author Index 258

Subject Index 262

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Author Information

Fay Fransella is Founder and Director of the Center for Personal Construct Psychology, Emeritus Reader in Clinical Psychology, University of London and Visiting Professor of Personal Construct Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. She has written 11 books, eight of them specifically relating to personal construct psychology and the use of repertory grids, and she has published over 150 journal papers and book chapters. She wrote the first edition of A Manual for Repertory Grid Technique with Don Bannister for Academic Press in 1977.
She trained and worked as an occupational therapist for 10 years before taking a degree in psychology and a postgraduate diploma in clinical psychology in 1962. It was during her first job as a lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry, London, that she was introduced to George Kelly’s personal construct psychology and his repertory grid method. Both were revolutionary alternatives to the dominant behaviorism of the time. She found the view that we are all free agents responsible for what we make of the events which continually confront us particularly liberating. Since that time she has conducted research, together with teaching and writing, within the framework of Kelly’s ideas. Her main area of research has been stuttering, for which she used a form of repertory grid. She has also conducted research on weight disorders and various psychological problems.

Richard Bell is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Melbourne. He is interested practical problems of measurement in clinical, organizational and educational settings. He has written extensively on the analysis of repertory grid data and has authored widely used software for the analysis of such data.

The influence of Don Bannister in arousing interest in George Kelly’s theory and methods of assessment has been profound. Even after his untimely death in 1986 his influence continues, through those he inspired, through his professional research and writings, and also through his four novels. In the year in which this second edition of the Manual for Repertory Grid Techniques is published the 15th International Congress in Personal Construct Psychology was held in Huddersfield, UK, focusing on that outstanding influence. He spent much of his professional life carrying out research for the UK Medical Research Council, which included a year working with George Kelly at Ohio State University in 1965. He saw the psychology of personal constructs as an approach to the person that was empowering, democratic and, above all, valuable in helping people understand themselves and others. He was insistent that psychologists should use what power and influence they have to make a difference in the lives of people. He would have taken great interest in the vast amount of new work that has been carried out with and into that tool which is detailed in this second edition of the book that he co-authored in 1977.

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"...integrity and up-to-date scholarship demands our attention..." (Constructive Interventionist Newsletter, August 2004)
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