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Budapest University of Technology and Economics Department of Ergonomics and Psychology www.erg.bme.hu 1 A short introduction into the Q-methodology and.

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Presentation on theme: "Budapest University of Technology and Economics Department of Ergonomics and Psychology www.erg.bme.hu 1 A short introduction into the Q-methodology and."— Presentation transcript:

1 Budapest University of Technology and Economics Department of Ergonomics and Psychology 1 A short introduction into the Q-methodology and its applications in safety science Prof. L. Izsó

2 Budapest University of Technology and Economics Department of Ergonomics and Psychology The fundamentals of the Q-methodology 1.1. Basic ideas 1.2. The data matrix of the Q-methodology 1.3. The technique of forced choice 1.4. Including FA in the Q-methodology 2. Applying the Q-methodology for objective studying of subjective opinion-structures (a case study from the safety science) The Q-methodology and its applications

3 Budapest University of Technology and Economics Department of Ergonomics and Psychology 3 The basic ideas of the Q-methodology were worked out by British physicist and psychologist W. Stephenson as early as in 1935, and during the following decades he – basically inThe Study of Behavior: Q-technique and Its Methodology (1953) – further developed them. Nowadays we are witnessing a rediscovery of the usefulness of this approach. The Q- methodology provides a foundation for the systematic study of subjectivity, and it is this central feature which recommends it to persons interested in qualitative aspects of human behavior. Most typically, a person is presented with a set of statements about some topic, and is asked to rank-order them (usually from "agree" to "disagree"), an operation referred to as "Q sorting Basic ideas

4 Focus on the subjective dimension of any issue towards which different points-of-view can be expressed. The main features can be summarized as follows (after Prof. Paul Stenner of University of Brighton): 1.Each of a sample of participants (the p-set) 2.… sorts a sample of items (the q-set) 3.… into a subjectively meaningful pattern (the q-sort). 4.Resulting q-sorts are factor analysed by-person (q-analysis) 5.… yielding a set of factors whose interpretation reveals a set of points-of-view (the f-set) 1.1. Basic ideas

5 Basic steps: Generating the Q (item) set (representatively) Selecting the P (participant) set (usually not representatively) Collecting Q sort data Q Correlation and factoring Factor interpretation 1.1. Basic ideas

6 Budapest University of Technology and Economics Department of Ergonomics and Psychology 6 The statements are matters of opinion only (not fact), and the fact that the Q sorter is ranking the statements from his or her own point of view is what brings subjectivity into the picture. There is obviously no right or wrong way to provide "my point of view" about anything -- health care, a particular nomination, the reasons why people commit suicide, why Cleveland can't field a decent baseball team, or anything else. Yet the rankings are usually subject to factor analysis (FA), and the resulting factors, inasmuch as they have arisen from individual subjectivities, indicate segments of subjectivity which exist. Thus the Q-methodology, in a sense, unifies the strengths of qualitative and quantitative traditions Basic ideas

7 In traditional psychological data analysis methods (so called R-methods) tests (scales or other instrument scores) are applied to a sample of persons and the correlation coefficients are calculated between these tests as variables. In the Q-methodology, of the contrary, persons (or different conditions/instructions within persons) are applied to a sample of stimuli and the correlation coefficients are calculated between these stimuli as variables. In the second step of the Q-methodology – in case of an exploratory analysis - usually a special factor analysis (FA) is performed based on the correlation coefficients obtained earlier. 7Budapest University of Technology and Economics Department of Ergonomics and Psychology Basic ideas

8 BME APPI Ergonómia és Pszichológia Tanszék A data matrix for traditional R-methodology: 1.2.The data matrix of the Q-methodology Applying a, b and c tests to the (A, B, C) sample of persons. The figures in brackets are the standardized values. 8

9 abc a 1- 1,000- 0,327 b - 1,0001 0,327 c - 0,327 0,3271 A correlation matrix calculated from the data matrix of traditional R-methodology: 9 Budapest University of Technology and Economics Department of Ergonomics and Psychology 1.2.The data matrix of the Q-methodology

10 Stephenson: "Correlating Persons Instead of Tests" (1935) The figures in brackets are the standardized values. A data matrix for the Q-methodology: The data matrix of the Q-methodology

11 BME APPI Ergonómia és Pszichológia Tanszék A data matrix for the Q-methodology: Applying A, B and C persons (or one single person under A, B and C conditions/instructions) to the (a, b, c) sample of stimuli ( statements, collections of smells, tastes, colors, paintings, pieces of art, photographs, even musical selections, etc. ), where the data in the colomns are given in p, q, and s units The data matrix of the Q-methodology

12 ABC A 10,885- 0,038 B 0, ,500 C - 0,038- 0,5001 A correlation matrix calculated from the data matrix of the Q-methodology: 12 Budapest University of Technology and Economics Department of Ergonomics and Psychology 1.2.The data matrix of the Q-methodology

13 BME APPI Ergonómia és Pszichológia Tanszék The technique of forced choice The so called forced-choice or forced distribution) means that the items are arranged (forced) into a frame approximately of the shape of the normal distribution. This arrangement has decisive advantages: the normality requirement necessary for the FA is ab ovo satisfied. 13Budapest University of Technology and Economics Department of Ergonomics and Psychology

14 Most disagree Most agree n=60 Eg: sorting 60 statements on a 13 degree scale 14Budapest University of Technology and Economics Department of Ergonomics and Psychology The technique of forced choice

15 The act of sorting by forced distribution Because of the forced distribution the stimuli can interact during sorting. If the same person performs more sorting by different instructions the variables (instructions) can also interact during sorting The technique of forced choice

16 Eg: sorting 60 statements on a 13 degree scale 16Budapest University of Technology and Economics Department of Ergonomics and Psychology The technique of forced choice

17 17 In the final step a FA is applied to the correlation matrix. While in case of a normal or R type FA the analysis is usually finished when the factor loadings are calculated, in the Q-methodology in additon the factor scores are also calculated and these solve as the basis of the interpretation of the resulted factors/components. 17Budapest University of Technology and Economics Department of Ergonomics and Psychology Including FA in the Q-methodology

18 BME APPI Ergonómia és Pszichológia Tanszék 18 A case study Objective studying of subjective opinions of different experts participating in the investigation of safety-related events in a nuclear power plant by the Q-methodology (NPP_Q-sorting.sav) 2. Applying the Q-methodology for objective studying of subjective opinion-structures 18Budapest University of Technology and Economics Department of Ergonomics and Psychology

19 The first eight statements of the 53 item Q-list: 1) There is no supervision to check if the right correcting measures were taken. 2) Responsible managers in the organization recognize if a particular cause occurs too often as triggering factor. 3) The results of the investigation are influenced by the investigators themselves. 4) The investigation is launched too late. 5) All the involved persons are drawn into the investigation. 6) The correcting measures are usually launched, but never completed. 7) The resulting decisions are adequate answers to the events (incidents or accidents). 8) The managers are open to the results of the investigation Applying the Q-methodology for objective studying of subjective opinion-structures

20 Sorting the 53 statements on a 9 degree scale by forced distribution Applying the Q-methodology for objective studying of subjective opinion-structures

21 The experts performed the following Q-sortings: The 4 staff members of the Safety Directorate: for the routine only (4 Q-sortings), The 2 staff members of the Training Center for both the routine and the SOL (4 Q-sortings), The 2 invited independent external experts for both the routine and the SOL (4 Q-sortings). These altogether 12 Q-sortings as variables were later factorized and the resulting significant factors/components were interpreted in terms of available background information Applying the Q-methodology for objective studying of subjective opinion-structures

22 22 Two main components/dimensions occurred: Applying the Q-methodology for objective studying of subjective opinion-structures

23 23 Two main dimensions occurred: Applying the Q-methodology for objective studying of subjective opinion-structures

24 24 2. Applying the Q-methodology for objective studying of sub Two main dimensions occurred:

25 25 Dimension 1: from - 4 ( Most disagree) The investigators take into account only objectively recorded facts, they are not interested in the opinions of the persons involved in the event. The investigation does not take into account all the circumstances of the investigated events properly. Only individual human errors are identified as causes, managerial failures are not. … 25 Budapest University of Technology and Economics Department of Ergonomics and Psychology 2. Applying the Q-methodology for objective studying of subjective opinion-structures

26 26 Dimension 1: to + 4 ( Most agree) … The investigating team does not settle for identifying one single cause or finding the error made by one single person. The persons involved in an event are asked also personally concerning the event. The managers are open to the results of the investigation. 26 Budapest University of Technology and Economics Department of Ergonomics and Psychology 2. Applying the Q-methodology for objective studying of subjective opinion-structures

27 27 Dimension 1: can be interpreted as the degree to which the investigation is multicausal, thorough, deep and wide enough, open, transparent and correct, just and fair. (A positive dimension: larger values have better meaning) Applying the Q-methodology for objective studying of subjective opinion-structures

28 BME APPI Ergonómia és Pszichológia Tanszék 28 Dimension 2: from – 4 ( Most disagree) The investigators knowingly search the relationship between organizational decisions and the event investigated. The usual time period of maximum 30 days is enough for a thorough investigation. The persons involved in an event feel their participation in the investigation process useful. … Applying the Q-methodology for objective studying of subjective opinion-structures

29 BME APPI Ergonómia és Pszichológia Tanszék 29 Dimension 2: to + 4 ( Most agree) … The investigations do not foster the personnel to learn something from every single investigated events. The results of the investigation are influenced by the investigators themselves. The investigation usually does not involve the responsibility of managers Applying the Q-methodology for objective studying of subjective opinion-structures

30 BME APPI Ergonómia és Pszichológia Tanszék 30 Dimension 2: can be interpreted as the degree to which the investigation is not covering the responsibility of managers, targeting the organizational decisions, independent from the investigators, satisfying for the persons involved. (A negative dimension: larger values have worse meaning) Applying the Q-methodology for objective studying of subjective opinion-structures

31 31 Once again the two main dimensions that occurred: 31 Interpretation: 1)Safety Directorate staff have an unrealistic positive opinion about their routine procedure (high positive loads on dimension 1) 2. Applying the Q-methodology for objective studying of subjec

32 32 Interpretation: 2) Training Center staff and external experts both have a very negative opinion about the same routine procedure (high positive loads on dimension 2) Once again the two main dimensions that occurred: 2. Applying the Q-methodology for objective studying of subjec

33 33 Interpretation: 3) Training Center staff and external experts both have a positive opinion about the SOL method (high positive loads on dimension 1) Once again the two main dimensions that occurred: 2. Applying the Q-methodology for objective studying of subjec

34 34 2. Applying the Q-methodology for objective studying of subjective opinion-structures

35 35 Opinions about the routine investigation Staff members of the Safety Directorate 2. Applying the Q-methodology for objective studying of subjective opinion-structures

36 36 Staff members of the Safety Directorate Staff members of the Training Center 2. Applying the Q-methodology for objective studying of subjective opinion-structures Opinions about the routine investigation

37 37 Staff members of the Safety Directorate Staff members of the Training Center Invited external experts 2. Applying the Q-methodology for objective studying of subjective opinion-structures Opinions about the routine investigation

38 38 Opinions about the SOL investigation Safety Directorate Staff had no SOL experience 2. Applying the Q-methodology for objective studying of subjective opinion-structures

39 39 Staff members of the Training Center Safety Directorate Staff had no SOL experience 2. Applying the Q-methodology for objective studying of subjective opinion-structures Opinions about the SOL investigation

40 40 Staff members of the Training Center Invited external experts Safety Directorate Staff had no SOL experience 2. Applying the Q-methodology for objective studying of subjective opinion-structures Opinions about the SOL investigation


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