Quality & Quantity 33: 13–26, 1999.
© 1999 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.
Extending Facet Design to Such Complex
Psychological Structures as Piaget’s Theory
BARBRO M. BERGLING
Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Abstract. This study is aimed at exploring whether Guttman’s facet design could be extended into
a hierarchical facet model, designed to map hypothesized relationships within such a complicated
structure of a hierarchical theory as that of Piaget. The basis of the hierarchical facet model was a
thorough conceptual analysis by means of facet design of 12 Piagetian experiments resulting in a dif-
ferentiated classiﬁcation model in the form of a mapping sentence. This mapping sentence elucidated
the complex structures of the developmental sequence of Piaget’s theory into a uniﬁed structure of
content facets and their elements by hypothesizing two content facets, Conceptual Instrumentalities
and Cognitive Strategies, underlying the content domain, i.e., the internal structure of logical opera-
tional thinking as it is represented by the logical operational structures at three developmental levels,
and by deducing a set of elements of these facets. In order to outline the interrelationships between
the operational structures a hierarchical facet model was elaborated representing both the step-by-
step acquisition of the structures within and between the three developmental levels and which
structures are necessary prerequisites for arriving at the next step in the developmental sequence.
The hierarchical facet model was presented in graphical form giving an overview of the fundamental
structures and their positions in the developmental sequence.
Key words: facet design, mapping sentence, classiﬁcation facet model, Piaget, logical operations,
cognitive structures, hierarchical facet model.
The research method facet design, developed by Guttman (1957), provides the
researcher with the possibility to elaborate a clearly deﬁned deﬁnitional frame-
work for a content universe. The principles and applications of facet design have
been presented by several researchers (e.g., Shye, 1978; Canter, 1985; Dancer,
1990; Levy, 1990; R. Guttman, Epstein, Amir & Guttman, 1990; Shye, Elizur &
Hoffman, 1994; Breakwill, Hammond & Fife-Schaw, 1995).
Since facet design is content free it can be applied to any content domain. By a
domain is meant a set of observable events. Facet design hypothesizes those facets
which underlie the domain and characterize the research area which is explored.
This study was supported by a grant from the Swedish National Board of Education under
project title “Diagnosing developmental levels – Conceptual structure and methodology of science
teaching” (Project No 2083). The author wishes to thank Ass. Prof. Dr Eva Johanson for her valuable
comments on this manuscript.