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ERIC Number: EJ1123119
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1085-5300
Theoretical Significance in Q Methodology: A Qualitative Approach to a Mixed Method
Ramlo, Susan
Research in the Schools, v22 n1 p73-87 Spr 2015
Q methodology (Q) has offered researchers a unique scientific measure of subjectivity since William Stephenson's first article in 1935. Q's focus on subjectivity includes self-referential meaning and interpretation. Q is most often identified with its technique (Q-sort) and its method (factor analysis to group people); yet, it consists of a broader set of procedures, philosophy, and theory. Within this context, Q shares many of the focuses of qualitative research studies while utilizing the type of statistical analyses typically found in quantitative research studies. Some have criticized Q based on statistical considerations at the factor-analytic stage without taking into account the complex qualitative-quantitative methodological continuum that exists within Q. Identified recently as a mixed method, Q's preferences at the factor-analytic stage might seem at odds with the practice of R factor analysis but actually allows the researcher to capture better the meaning of the participants' views, as revealed through their Q-sorts and expressed as Q factors. Rather than representing statistical impropriety, this qualitative approach is based upon theoretical significance rather than statistical significance, representative of Q's philosophical mixture of qualitative and quantitative ideas. This article's purpose is to introduce Q, summarize the literature on Q as a mixed method, and explain the qualitative philosophy behind Q within the statistical analyses phase.
Mid-South Educational Research Association (MSERA). Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A