Ladder interview

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A Ladder interview is an interviewing technique where a seemingly simple response to a question is pushed by the interviewer in order to find subconscious motives.[1]

Example[edit]

It begins with a simple question, and then another question is asked about that response. For example, an interviewer may ask: "How come you skipped class?" and the response may be: "I went out with my friends". The next question would be something like "Why did you go out with your friends?". Essentially, the format is as follows:

Interviewer: "Why x?"
Subject: "Because z"
Interviewer: "Why z?"
Subject: "Because b"
Interviewer: "Why b?"

The first responses are generally functional justifications, like "I went out with my friends because I wanted some pizza", or "I wanted some pizza because I used to eat it as a child"; but eventually the interviewer hopes to reach a virtue justification like "It's good to be childish". Then it is fair to conclude that the interviewee skipped class because he valued childishness.

Usage[edit]

This technique is used for marketing in order to see what values inspire the consumption of the particular product. A chocolate bar producer would do this test so they can match the most common terminal virtue to their product in an advertisement. For example, the virtue of justice, or a virtue of efficiency, or in the above example, the virtue of childhood.

Further reading[edit]

  • Reynolds, T.J. and Olson, J.C., Understanding Consumer Decision Making: the means-end approach to marketing, Routledge, 2001, pages 25–61
  • Breakwell, G.M. (editor), Doing Social Psychology Research, Wiley-Blackwell, 2004, pages 305-343

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.uxmatters.com/mt/archives/2009/07/laddering-a-research-interview-technique-for-uncovering-core-values.php