Laddering method qualitative research

Laddering is used to reveal the deeper meaning of products or services for a client. In this way more insight can be gained about the perception of the market. Through ‘attributes’ of a product or service and ‘effects’ of these attributes the ‘values’ of the product or service are revealed.
A division in two is made of previous mentioned concepts. For “attributes” a division is made between “tangible attributes” and “intangible attributes”. For “effects” a distinction is made between “practical effects” and “mentally or social effects”. For “values” a distinction is made between “instrumental values” and “end values”.

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An example for the car industry can make this more clear:

  • In this market tangible attributes can be: power of the motor, colour, price, fuel consumption
  • Intangible attributes can be : quality, design, safety
  • Practical effects can be: mobility, extra time, speed
  • Mentally or social effects can be: Status, socially involved, participation
  • Instrumental values can be: Come and go whenever you want
  • End values can be: freedom, protection, adventure, independence

This way of presenting has the likeness of a ladder in which one climbs from the tangible attributes to the end values. The Kelly Grid method can be used to obtain the attributes. To reveal the end values long in-depth interviews are needed. So the laddering method is relatively time consuming.