Ramlo, Susan (2020, March). Subjectivity as subjective-science: campus freedom of speech as an intensive single-case study. International Journal of Research & Method in Education. (ePub in advance of print) (doi: 10.1080/1743727X.2020.1735336) (Link: https://doi.org/10.1080/1743727X.2020.1735336)

Abstract: Q methodology [Q] is a mixed method created to scientifically study subjectivity. This study uses a single-case design that offers intense analysis regarding a previous study about freedom of speech on university campuses in the US. The study provides insights regarding privilege, social justice, naivete, and speech crisis viewpoints among a variety of campus stakeholders, especially from a troubled, midsized public university in the US. Factor arrays from the earlier study (also called theoretical sorts) were combined with sorts from an individual who sorted under multiple conditions of instruction. This single-case sorter was selected from the most contentious viewpoint from the earlier study called ‘Speech Crisis’ view. This viewpoint consisted of stakeholders from the troubled public university. The operant factors that emerge from the analyses of these Q-sorts represent generalizations of feeling. This study further exemplifies that perception of a situation, including the stakeholder’s power position, can impact their subjective viewpoint creating perspectives of privilege as well as perspectives of crisis. Moreover, this expansion of an earlier study further illustrates how using a single-case Q study can enhance insight concerning an important topic while challenging the often perceived quantitative-qualitative duality.

Susan Ramlo <sramlo@uakron.edu> is in the Department of Engineering and Science Technology, University of Akron, OH, USA.