This encyclopedia entry of approximately 2000 words covers all the main features of Q methodology concourse, Q sorting, statistical analysis, and interpretation and uses a case of Korean identity as an illustrative focal point. The case is not made that Q is a qualitative method, i.e., that it can be subsumed under the qualitative banner; rather, that it shares many of the goals and aims of qualitative methods and should therefore be attractive to those who prefer these methods: “Central to this enterprise are the meanings and understandings that individuals bring to their endeavors, and it is this preservation of the person’s perspective (rather than submerging it in categorical averaging) that has rendered Q methodology attractive to investigators who are partial to qualitative methods. In addition, it takes advantage of the leveraging power of sophisticated statistical procedures that often reveal patterns within subjective perspectives that can be overlooked by even the most sensitive and discerning eye. Although fortified by the mathematics of factor analysis and often presented as a purely quantitative method, Q methodology was advanced by Stephenson as the basis for the systematic study of subjectivity in which self-referential meaning and interpretation are central. It therefore shares many of the same goals with qualitative analysis and is contrapuntal to ‘R methodology,’ which is the study of all that is objective.” This encyclopedia entry joins a growing number of publications aimed explicitly at bringing Q methodology to the attention of qualitative researchers and encouraging them to consider it despite its rich quantitative endowment.
Published by sbrownkentedu
Author of Political Subjectivity (Yale University Press 1980), founding editor of Operant Subjectivity (1977), organizer of first Q conference (1985) and founding member of the International Society for the Scientific Study of Subjectivity (1989), founder and moderator of Q-Method electronic discussion list (1991), and laureate of ISSSS's William Stephenson Award (2010). Also past editor of Policy Sciences, co-founder of the International Society of Political Psychology and the Society of Policy Scientists, list manager of PolicySciencesSociety, executive director of ISPP, laureate of ISPP's Harold Lasswell Award (2009) for lifetime scientific contributions, and Kappa Tau Alpha award (2001) for contributions to journalism and mass communication. View all posts by sbrownkentedu