Ho, Grace W. K. (in press). Examining perceptions and attitudes: A review of using Likert-type scales versus Q-methodology. Western Journal of Nursing Research.

Abstract: Perceptions and attitudes are important nursing research constructs as they integrally relate to health, health behaviors, and healthcare delivery. The most common strategy for estimating these constructs are quantitative measures using Likert-type scales, which produces numerical values that can be easily compared and generalized. A lesser known approach, Q-methodology, uses a sorting technique and provides a detailed and holistic understanding of these constructs. Each method provides unique information and have distinct utility for understanding and modifying negative health behaviors. The purpose of this paper is to compare and discuss the use of Likert-type scales and Q-methodology to examine perceptions and attitudes in nursing research. This paper provides a brief review of each approach, and how they have been used to advance our knowledge in health-related perceptions and attitudes. The strengths and limitations, as well as appropriate uses of either or both approaches to answer different research questions will be discussed.

Grace W K Ho <gho4@jhu.edu> holds a PhD in nursing from Johns Hopkins University where she also completed a postdoctoral fellowship. She is currently on the faculty of the School of Nursing at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.