Kinsey, Dennis F., James C. Rhoads, & Dan B. Thomas (2019, June 19-20). Professional sports and the US partisan culture wars: Gauging public reaction to Trump’s attacks on NFL player protests vs. racial injustice during the national anthem. Presented at the 10th International Sport & Society Conference, Ryerson University, Toronto, CA.

Abstract: In this research we employ Q methodology to examine subjective appraisals of President Donald Trump’s public criticisms of mostly African-American NFL players who have "taken a knee" during the pre-game national anthem as a form of protest against the prevalence and prominence of acts of racial injustice, particularly instances of violence by white police in the treatment of non-white citizens. Whether by virtue of presidential persuasion or not, attendance at and television viewing of NFL games declined during the 2017 season, leading owners to ban the practice by team members for the forthcoming season. Critics of Trump have accused the President of race-baiting, targeting highly paid, primarily African-American athletes as "unpatriotic SOB’s" who deserve to be fired for their antics. In this study we generate a Q sample on the matter and ask ordinary sports fans of differing political views to use the items to model their viewpoints. The results permit us to assess the possibility that Trump’s actions vis-a-vis prominent sports figures is an effective means of expressing a sense of collective grievance, thereby serving as a further bond of unity among his political base. [Dennis F Kinsey <dfkinsey@syr.edu> is in the Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY.  James C Rhoads <jrhoads@westminster.edu> is in the Department of Political Science, Westminster College, New Wilmington, PA.  Dan B Thomas <dani.thomas@wartburg.edu> is Emeritus Professor, Department of Social Sciences, Wartburg College, Waverly, IA.]

Du Plessis, Charmaine (2019, June 20-21). Using Q methodology to test perspectives and attitudes: Experiences from a study about content marketing. Presented at the 18th European Conference on Research Methodology for Business and Management Studies, Johannesburg, South Africa. (doi: 10.34190/RM.19.024)

Abstract: This paper is intended to propose the use of Q methodology in more business and management studies to complement existing business methodologies and will explain the different steps of a typical Q study with examples from a study on content marketing. It will be argued that this methodology is best suited to clarify and depict the scope of different viewpoints about a topic and hence provides numerous opportunities to researchers. Q methodology was introduced more than 80 years ago by psychologist William Stephenson to study human subjectivity but presently researchers do not sufficiently adopt this methodology to study perceptions and attitudes about business and management topics. For example, this mixed method has not become a common business and management method yet despite mounting scholarly work in various disciplines over the years which could perhaps be ascribed to the complexity of this method. In addition to illustrating how Q methodology could be used to test perspectives and attitudes, it will be argued in this paper why and how Q methodology can be a valuable business and management research tool to reveal individuals’ subjectivity about a topic. The adoption of Q methodology could enhance conventional research methods such as surveys, interviews and focus groups. Since Q methodology uses the strengths of both qualitative and quantitative methods to study the subjective perspectives of participants, it becomes possible to gain insight in a much richer way than with a survey or interviews because it combines a robust qualitative element with the quantitative tool. The qualitative part categorises the variety and span of subjective opinions on the topic, while the quantitative part objectively confirms and analyses similarities and differences in the subjective viewpoints of individuals by means of a Q factor analysis. It is thus an exploratory, inductive and deductive methodology suitable for small populations of participants; strengthened by the statistical operation of Q factor analysis. However, there are also several limitations to using Q methodology which are highlighted with examples. [Charmaine Du Plessis <dplestc@unisa.ac.za> is in the Department of Communication Science, University of South Africa, Pretoria.]

Jenks, Viveka E. (2019, September 19). Faculty appraisal of the curricular assessment process. To be presented in a poster session at the American Medical Association’s ChangeMedEd Conference (Session: Teaching and assessing health systems science), September 18-21, Chicago.

Abstract: In higher education, many barriers exist to efficient outcomes assessment, one of which is the cultures that exist within institutions, and the perceptions of the faculty who are at the forefront of assessing student learning. It is often viewed as a “culture war” (Baas, Rhoads, & Thomas, 2016) as faculty remain unconvinced that what the assessment movement sets out to achieve is actually attainable. For the assessment movement to gain traction and achieve its intended outcomes, the process directives and tasks must be amenable to the individuals who provide most of the data, the faculty. Since metrics are of upmost importance in the assessment world, appraisal of the assessment process at a small medical college most appropriately utilized Q methodology, which provides the basis for the scientific study of subjectivity. Thirty-four statements were derived through interviews with the faculty and the Q-sorts were completed by faculty and staff from the same body. Two well-defined factors emerged. One group of faculty believed in the movement, along with the benefits of assessment. The other group, surprisingly, was not the antithesis, but rather expressed concerns about the lack of time and resources dedicated to the data gathering as well as the possible punitive uses of the results. The factors that emerged could play a vital role in the adjustment and the improvement of the process as a whole. [Viveka E Jenks <vjenks@kent.edu> is Education Innovations & Learning Design Manager, College of Podiatric Medicine, Kent State University, Independence, OH.]

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