Garbellini, Simon, Melinda Randall, Michael Steele, Catherine Elliot, & Christine Imms (2020, January). Unpacking the application of Q methodology for use in occupational therapy research. Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy. (ePub in advance of print) (doi: 10.1080/11038128.2019.1709542) (Link:

Abstract: Background: Occupational therapy research has not fully utilized available research methods when exploring occupational therapists’ views on specific interventions and service provision nor when exploring consumer priorities and the impact of occupational therapy services. Q methodology, a quantitative method for the systematic assessment of qualitative data, is an approach that can be used to examine viewpoints related to occupational therapy practice. Purpose: This paper adds experiential knowledge to guide researchers new to navigating Q methodology and encourages occupational therapy researchers to consider the application of Q methodology when exploring viewpoints pertinent to practice and research. Key issues: This paper provides a more detailed reflection on each stage of Q methodology than is currently available in the literature, with a focus on the factor analysis stage, to support the successful implementation of this method. Implications: Sharing experience in implementing Q methodology may inform and encourage researchers in its use as one approach to combine qualitative methods and quantitative data analysis techniques. The rigour of the method’s processes may add credibility to identified viewpoints and how they could inform occupational therapy practice. Key messages • Q methodology can be used in occupational therapy research to explore consumer and therapist viewpoints regarding interventions, service provision, priorities and the profession itself. • Q methodology employs a specific, repeatable process within each stage of the research process to ensure rigour. • Q methodology provides an approach to combining qualitative research methods with quantitative analysis techniques to understand the viewpoints of interest.

Simon Garbellini <> is in the Centre for Disability and Development Research, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne; and the Department of Paediatric Rehabilitation, Perth Children’s Hospital, Perth, Australia, AU.

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