Ramlo, Sue (2016, Winter). Centroid and theoretical rotation: Justification for their use in Q methodology research. Mid-Western Educational Researcher, 28(1), 72-91.


This manuscript’s purpose is to introduce Q as a methodology before providing clarification about the preferred factor analytical choices of centroid and theoretical (hand) rotation. Stephenson, the creator of Q, designated that only these choices allowed for scientific exploration of subjectivity while not violating assumptions associated with other choices like principal components (PCA) and Varimax. Although Q software offers Stephenson’s preferred choices as factor analytic options, today most Q methodologists use the more “modern” factor analytical choices of PCA and Varimax. Similarly, reviewers and critics of Q research often question the use of centroid with theoretical rotation, further discouraging their use. Researchers who took statistics coursework since the advent of statistical computer software are unfamiliar with centroid and theoretical rotation, their history, their processes, and why they offer a means of best scientifically exploring pragmatic, meaningful factor analytical solutions within Q methodology studies. Statistical versus theoretical considerations are discussed.

Sue Ramlo <sramlo> is in the Departments of Engineering & Science Technology and Curricular & Instructional Studies, University of Akron, OH, USA.

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