Methods of Study

Although the idea of character development goes back at least to Socrates, modern study begins with Jean Piaget. Kohlberg, Selman, and others have adapted Piaget's method of clinical interviewing. Kohlberg presents his subjects with an unfinished story ending in a moral dilemma. When the subject finishes the story, there follows a probing interview during which reasons for choices are explored; the stage assigned depends on the reasoning. Rest has evolved an objectively scored test that is an adaptation of Kohlberg's instrument. Broughton and Perry have worked out interviews beginning with broad, unstructured questions.

Loevinger, Wessler, and Redmore's scoring manual for a sentence completion test is sufficiently detailed as to be semi-objective and includes self-teaching exercises. Marguerite Warren (formerly Grant) and others working with the interpersonal integration system of C. Sullivan and colleagues have used a variety of instruments including interviews, sentence completion tests, and objective tests.

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