# Q Methodology Charles C. Sule M.A.Sc. Ph.D. Candidate - Environmental Applied Science & Management.

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Q Methodology Charles C. Sule M.A.Sc. Ph.D. Candidate - Environmental Applied Science & Management

Presentation Overview  Origins and history of Q Method  Differences between ‘Q’ and ‘R’ methods and the q-sort  What Q means by ‘subjectivity’  Participant and sample selection  Data analysis with PQMethod  Factor interpretation  Summary  Questions

Origins of Q Methodology  Conceived by William Stephenson (pictured), who had Ph.D.s in both physics and psychology  Assistant to Charles Spearman, pioneer of factor analysis  ‘Technique of factor analysis.’ Nature, 1935, 136(3434), p.297 http://qmethod.org/images/WSpix1.jpg

Q Sort  Typically statements written on cards  ‘Forced distribution’ to a standard curve

Persons ‘R’ Methods  Simple data matrix  Pearson’s ‘r’  r = 0.80 r = -0.80 r = 0.00 Variables 1234m a ax1ax2ax3ax4axm b bx1bx2bx3bx4bxm c cx1cx2cx3cx4cxm d dx1dx2dx3dx4dxm n nx1nx2nx3nx4nxm

Operant Subjectivity  According to Watts (2011: 39) an ‘operant’ behaviour possesses two qualities: 1. an operant is produced and emitted naturally, without need for special training or any other form of artificial induction. 2. an operant is defined by the relationship it establishes with, and the impact it makes upon, the immediate environment.

Operant Subjectivity  Subjectivity is NOT some part of our consciousness  “It is not ‘inside’ us” (Watts, 2011: 39), Q is not a kind of phenomenological account  An expression of operant subjectivity can be recorded in a ‘Q-sort’

Q Method  Participants are called the ‘p-set’ Who are they? How many?  Statement sample is called the ‘q-set’ Concourse theory – the ‘universe’ of possible statements Select a representative sample from the concourse – the q-set

Q Method

Factor extraction

Factor rotation

Factor scores

Factor interpretation Factor Scores -- For Factor 1 # Statement Z-SCORES 3 Organic is beneficial to biodiversity 1.804 47 Org farming returns material to the soil 1.801 40 For org to be fair, animals need well-being 1.695 33 Fertilizers shall not harm the environment 1.424 28 Eating food grown in a particular way 1.172 1 No consistent scientific evidence of better nutrition -1.381 19 Animal health on org not necessarily better -1.518 4 No nutritional differences between org and conv -1.627 45 There are no safety differences between org and conv -1.798 46 An animal has good welfare if not diseased or ill -2.264

Q-Summary  Measures expressions of subjectivity  Suited to exploratory, small n studies  Q-bie, q-munity…  Kent State listserv just turned 22!

References  Stephenson, W. (1935). Correlating persons instead of tests. Journal of Personality, 4(1), 17–24.  Watts, S. (2011). Subjectivity as operant: a conceptual exploration and discussion. Operant Subjectivity, 35(1): 37–47.  Watts, S. & Stenner, P. (2012). Doing Q methodological research: theory, method and interpretation. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications Ltd.

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