Rieber, Lloyd P. (2020, April). Q methodology in learning, design, and technology: An introduction. Educational Technology Research and Development. (ePub in advance of print) (doi: 10.1007/s11423-020-09777-2) (Link: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-020-09777-2)

Abstract: An important element of good design, instructional or otherwise, is awareness of and being empathetic to the needs, wants, interests, values, and opinions of the intended audience. Typical approaches to learning about the subjective viewpoints of a particular audience have included survey instruments based on Likert-type items and open-ended questions, interviews, and focus groups. This article presents an overview of another approach using Q methodology. Q methodology is specifically designed to reveal and study subjectivity within a group of people in a systematic way using both quantitative and qualitative data. Q methodology offers designers with the means to identify a small number of profiles representing distinct points of view among the intended audience on a given topic. After presenting an overview of the historical and theoretical underpinnings of Q, several examples are provided to illustrate Q’s potential to improve design within the field of learning, design, and technology. Critiques of Q methodology are also described.

Lloyd P Rieber <lrieber@uga.edu> is in the Department of Career and Information Studies (Learning, Design, and Technology), University of Georgia, Athens, GA (USA).

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