Rost, Felicitas (2020, November). Q‐sort methodology: Bridging the divide between qualitative and quantitative. An introduction to an innovative method for psychotherapy research. Counselling & Psychotherapy Research. (ePub in advance of print) (doi: 10.1002/capr.12367) (Link: (Open Access:

Abstract: Q‐methodology offers unique opportunities for counselling and psychotherapy researchers and clinicians. It is an innovative technique capable of bridging the divide between clinical knowledge and the quantitative systematisation of it. It was initially developed by Stephenson as a data collection and data analytic method to empirically study human subjectivity. It was then extended by the British School to study shared viewpoints, thereby adopting a multi‐participant design and a highly unusual form of qualitative analysis. Finally, it was adapted by the Californian School for use as a standardised observer‐rated assessment tool. Its attractiveness stems from its aptitude to produce holistic data as it collects both quantitative and narrative data. This paper will provide an introduction to Q‐statistics and Q‐methodology (person‐centred) by contrasting it to R‐statistics and R‐methodology (variable‐centred). It will then provide an overview of the three schools of Q‐methodology and their various merits demonstrated with an example.

Felicitas Rost <> is in the Research Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, University College London, and Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK.

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