The idea of personal meaning can take many different forms. But it differs from what people say or what people do in that remains within the person, however, George Kelly in developing Personal Construct Theory, argued that if psychology was to help the individual then the psychologist must recognise that each individual has their own personal meaning about things which always differs from the public meaning. By this he means that what is going on in the persons head when they doing something remains hidden even though they may offer public explanations.
In introducing the Repertory Grid he developed a method whereby he could begin to get closer to the personal meaning behind what the individual said they meant. By getting his client to name a number of activities or events which related to issue understudy he was able by getting his client to consider them in 3’s and indicate which 2 most alike and differed from the 3rd. By developing this to cover the whole event or topic under investigation he was able to produce what is called a Repertory Grid.
Whilst the Repertory Grid was a major innovation in studying individual personal meaning we went on to develop the idea of Structures of Meaning, firstly, in terms of the 5 levels shown in Structures of Meaning-> The 5 Levels of Personal Meaning, the idea of structures of meaning in which the individual uses the individual events and develops visual patters showing how the events relate one to another.
Finally the idea of expressing one’s meaning of terms of Charts which start with a set of experiences and classify these and relate them one to another, visually, producing a chart of the meaning of the events under discussion.