Louah, Line, & Marjolein Visser (2016, July). Q methodology, a useful tool to foster multi-actor innovation networks performance. Read at a meeting of the International Farming Systems Association, Newport, UK. (Link: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318210942_Q_Methodology_a_useful_tool_to_foster_multi-actor_innovation_networks_performance)

Abstract: We address in this paper opportunities of Q Methodology for empirical agricultural innovation studies. In the systems perspective on innovation, multi-actor innovation networks are seen as a key strategy to successful innovation. Given the several types of actors involved, the scientific and policy literature points at the need for ‘innovation brokers’ to build capacity for collective innovation and prevent innovation network failures. This paper aims at introducing Q Methodology as a fitting and promising tool to assist these systemic facilitators to probe more deeply into the mechanisms of social learning and collective cognition. Q Methodology is a mixed method that provides quantitative structure to individuals’ opinions via factor analysis, based on a clear methodological structure and process. It has gained popularity in a range of ‘messy’ studies to analyze and typify the diversity of worldviews on complex and socially contested issues. Increasingly considered as a well-established method to address rural research questions, its use in agricultural innovation studies is still missing. After providing a deal of practical information about the conduct of Q methodological research, we thus offer to reflect on the usefulness of Q Methodology in fostering multi-actor innovation network performance.

Line Louah <line.louah@ulb.ac.be> and Marjolein Visser <marjolein.visser@ulb.ac.be> are in the Ecole Interfacultaire de Bioingénieurs, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium.