Identity instruments for large-scale investigations


Customised standard and semi-standard instruments

With large scale investigations, involving tens, or hundreds, or thousands of participants, customising an identity instrument for each person is clearly impracticable in terms of resources and time. Such circumstances demand compromises in the generation of customised instruments. Nevertheless, the operationalisation of ISA concepts is such that for each individual their idiosyncratic uses of discourses, texts and imagery are always ascertained and made overt by way of the assessed polarity [Polarity of a construct] of each bipolar construct, the structural pressure on it [Structural pressure on a construct] and the emotional significance of it [Emotional significance of a construct algorithm]. As with a customised instrument for an individual, the principles for generating a customised standard instrument are the same, except that a set of entities and bipolar constructs will be constrained to issues that may reasonably be expected to tap into shared experiences in socio-historical context.

When crossing cultural boundaries or age generations the adoption of semi-standard instruments allow for a degree of flexibility without destroying comparability. Thus, for example, in contemplating a study of identity processes in migrants and their offspring, it will be expedient to have one version of an identity instrument for the adult migrants and another version for their children brought up in the country and culture of the land of immigration. Much of the two versions will be common, but certain features will reflect the differing experiences of the two generations based in the ancestral country for the adult migrants and in the country of abode for their offspring.

Because of the internal standardisation procedures that operate for each individual case, all of the ISA parameters of identity retain the same scalar properties, hence remain comparative across individuals when semi-standard identity instruments are used. Those features that are distinguishable between semi-standard instruments remain visible, and their associated parameters of identity are ascertained - again, the qualitative differences are overt and integrated with quantitative aspects of identity.

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