Irie, Kay, & Stephen Ryan (2015). Identifying patterns of changes in self-perception: Q methodology. Sage Research Methods Cases [online]. London: Sage. (doi:

Abstract: In this case study, we reflect on the process of carrying out a longitudinal study to investigate the dynamics of people’s subjective views of themselves in relation to their learning and use of the target language during a study-abroad experience. We do so through our own first use of Q methodology. This narrative account takes the readers from the very starting point of how we decided to investigate the topic using Q methodology to the presentations of the outcome. The focus is on sharing the thoughts and feelings that went into making crucial decisions and dealing with problems that emerged in the process. The details of the statistical procedures are kept to a minimum, and this case study does not include discussions on the applied linguistics theories pertaining to the actual research. Practical suggestions are offered throughout the account.

Kay Irie <> is on the Faculty of International Social Sciences, Gakushuin University, Kyoto, Japan. Stephen Ryan <> is in the School of Culture, Media and Society, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan.