The Association for Qualitative Research
The Hub of Qualitative Thinking

Laddering

An interviewing technique derived from Kelly's Personal Construct Psychology, designed to identify a person's key or core constructs - major themes or beliefs through which they interpret the world and their own lives. Usually applied within an individual interview, it involves asking about a dimension or attribute of relevance to the research field, then repeatedly asking, for each subsequent answer, why that is important to the individual. This technique can be very intrusive and stressful for the respondent, so needs to be handled with care and applied sensitively.

Synonyms, Acronyms and Abbreviations

  • Means End Analysis

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