The interpretation session convened on Friday morning to interpret the results of the concept mapping analysis. This session followed a structured process described in detail in Trochim (1989a). The facilitator began the session by giving the participants the listing of clustered statements and reminding them of the brainstorming, sorting and rating tasks performed the previous evening. The participants were asked to read through the set of statements in each cluster and generate a short phrase or word to describe or label the set of statements as a cluster. The facilitator led the group in a discussion where they worked cluster-by-cluster to achieve group consensus on an acceptable label for each cluster. In most cases, when persons suggested labels for a specific cluster, the group readily came to a consensus. Where the group had difficulty achieving a consensus, the facilitator suggested they use a hybrid name, combining key terms or phrases from several individuals' labels.

Once the clusters were labeled, the group was given the point map and told that the analysis placed the statements on the map so that statements frequently piled together are generally closer to each other on the map than statements infrequently piled together. To reinforce the notion that the analysis placed the statements sensibly, participants were given a few minutes to identify statements close together on the map and examine the contents of those statements. After becoming familiar with the numbered point map, they were told that the analysis also organized the points (i.e., statements) into groups as shown on the list of clustered statements they had already labeled.

The cluster map was presented and participants were told that it was simply a visual portrayal of the cluster list. Each participant wrote the cluster labels next to the appropriate cluster on their cluster map.

Participants then examined the labeled cluster map to see whether it made sense to them. The facilitator reminded participants that in general, clusters closer together on the map should be conceptually more similar than clusters farther apart and asked them to assess whether this seemed to be true or not. Participants were asked to think of a geographic map, and "take a trip" across the map reading each cluster in turn to see whether or not the visual structure seemed sensible. They were then asked to identify any interpretable groups of clusters or "regions." These were discussed and partitions drawn on the map to indicate the different regions. Just as in labeling the clusters, the group then arrived at a consensus label for each of the identified regions. Five regions were identified and are shown in capital letters. No boundaries were drawn to distinguish these five regions.

The facilitator noted that all of the material presented to this point used only the sorting data. The results of the rating task were then presented through the point rating (Figure 3) and cluster rating (Figure 5) maps. It was explained that the height of a point or cluster represented the average importance rating for that statement or cluster of statements. Again, participants were encouraged to examine these maps to determine whether they made intuitive sense and to discuss what the maps might imply about the ideas that underlie their conceptualization.

Table 3 shows the complete cluster listing with the cluster labels the participants assigned and the average importance rating for each statement and cluster.

Discussion of Skills versus Values

The pattern of ratings on the map suggested that participants attached more importance to the clusters that had "value" statements than to those made up of skills. This can perhaps be seen most clearly in Table 4 which shows the ninety-six competency statements sorted from highest to lowest average importance rating. It is clear from the table that the statements near the top of the table tend to be more general in nature and more related to values while the statements near the bottom of the table tend to be more specific, operationalized, skill or knowledge-based ones. Some of the participants felt that the value statements can't be considered competencies per se because they are not sufficiently operationalized. Others felt that the value statements have actually been holding IAPSRS back in their development of competencies because they place too much importance on these generic values and not on a more specific skill base. Still others felt that the value statements are at the heart of what PSR represents and that they can and should be operationalized as competencies. The facilitator characterized the discussion as a choice between two alternatives:

A) Pull the value statements out of the competencies, perhaps putting them in a section up front describing the kinds of values and characteristics expected of psychosocial rehabilitation workers.

B) Operationalize the value statements so they can be included as formal competencies.

The consensus of the group was that option B was preferable. As a result, the group decided that a major portion of the afternoon utilization session would involve taking the value-oriented clusters (Clusters 1-5) and attempting to draft operationalized competency statements for the statements in these clusters.

Discussion of What was Missing on the Map

The group also discussed what concepts seemed to be missing (primarily at the cluster level) from the map. The following potentially missing labels were generated:

1 Advocacy

2 Systems Change

3 Vocational-Employment

4 Spiritual

5 Housing

6 Education

7 Health

8 Social/Recreational

9 Outcome Evaluation

10 Client Budgeting/Finances

11 Program Management

12 Health and Safety

The group then discussed whether the eventual competencies should have subject-specific categories (such as housing, education, employment) or whether competencies related to such areas should be spread across the types of headings already on the map (for instance, consumer outcomes related to employment). The consensus of the group was that the competencies should not be grouped by subject.

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Copyright 1996, William M.K. Trochim