Sneegas, Gretchen (2020). Making the case for critical Q methodology. The Professional Geographer, 72(1), 78-87. (doi: 10.1080/00330124.2019.1598271) (Link:

Abstract: Q methodology combines qualitative and quantitative approaches to measure subjectivity by identifying shared worldviews among participants. Since Q methodology was first introduced to human geography by Robbins and Krueger (2000), a nascent body of “critical Q” research has emerged among researchers who employ Q methodology in critical, reflexive, and innovative ways. In particular, this body of work questions the positivist foundations of standard Q methodology as a supposedly “objective” measure of subjectivity. Although many such analyses use Q methodology to identify and analyze discourses, few explicitly engage the field of critical discourse analysis. This article argues that discourse analysis has been “blackboxed” in geographic Q scholarship and outlines four key moments in the standard Q methodology protocol where researchers could productively integrate critical discourse analysis. In so doing, this article argues that juxtaposing the “messiness” of critical discourse analysis and the “tidiness” of Q methodology exposes productive tensions, gaps, and contradictions that provide key moments for interrogation and critical reflexivity.

Gretchen Sneegas <> is currently a postdoctoral research associate as part of the Pathways to Sustainable Urban Water Security X-Grant project at Texas A&M University, College Station, TX (USA).

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