Rep Plus Progress
Writing the manuals for Rep Plus has taken rather more time than we expected but we are still on target to make Rep Plus freely available by the end of this year.
The manuals involved more effort than we had anticipated because Rep Plus is not based on the snapshot of our software that we supplied CPSC in 2002 which became Rep 5. It is derived from the latest version of the code that has evolved as we have undertaken new projects over the past 15 years, both as part of our ongoing research and in order to support the research of colleagues. We had not realized bow much had been added and how much needed to documented in order to support users that we were not collaborating with directly.
In addition there is a big difference between software being used by a few researchers we know well and that supportive of researchers that we do not know at all who may well apply it in ways we have not contemplated. As we have written the manuals it has been necessary to revisit the software, adding options that should be available but which we have not needed (or addressed in other less general ways), cleaning up interfaces that were intended for one-time use, and generally makinge Rep Plus a coherent product rather than a conglomeration of research tools.
The RepServe manual was completed as a priority some 2 years ago since the first use of Rep Plus was to provide WebGrid Plus servers at several sites.
The RepGrid manual was completed some 6 months ago since this is the most used tool and the major enhancements were: the Synopsis tool providing histograms of the distributions of the ratings; the Scree tool providing Forrest's estimate of the number of significant components in a principal components analysis (the most well-founded and reliable cognitive complexity measure available); and the Classes data structure which adds Kelly's intersections as a basis for anticipatations based on construct systems (providing case-based and rule-based inference in AI parlance, but more importantly supporting further research on the role of construct systems in anticipation).
The RepGrids manual was completed some 2 months ago encompassing the original techniques for analyzing multiple grids such as Socio and Mode Grids but also other techniques we have developed in collaboration with colleagues over the past decade to support large-scale research projects involving the elicitation of tens or hundreds of grids together with other tools that support the management of large collections of grids. In particular: the new classes in RepGrid make it possible to represent the stratification of a community through a 'grid of grids' which can then be used by the other RepGrids tools to manage various stratified analyses; the new Histo tool provides comparisons of the construing of different groups in a community together with estimates of significance and effect size to facilitate meta-analyses; and the new Content Analysis tool provides a hierarchical spreadsheet-like environment to manage content analysis including the Honey/Jankovicz method and the use of content analysis as an enhancement of existing techniques such Mode Grid generation.
We are currently working on the RepNet manual since the graphics package in Rep Plus has been greatly enhanced over the years as we have used it not only for modelling conceptual structures but also as a general-purpose drawing tool. The RepScript manual also needs updating to reflect extensions supporting open-architecture programming of the new tools. And we have several other tutorial documents in mind to support the use of the conceptual modelling tools by researchers from other disciplines who are not becessarily familiar with the PCP literature.
However, the primary manuals required have now been written and form the basis of a meaningful release by the year-end. To those who have been waiting — thank-you for your patience!