Q Bibliography: Howard et al. on notions of fairness in Fair-trade Carbon Projects

Howard, Rebecca J., Anne M. Tallontire, Lindsay C. Stringer, & Rob A. Marchant (2016, February). Which “fairness”, for whom, and why? An empirical analysis of plural notions of fairness in Fairtrade Carbon Projects, using Q methodology. Environmental Science & Policy, 56, 100-109. (doi: 10.1016/j.envsci.2015.11.009) (Open access text available: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1462901115301106)


  • Uses Q methodology to identify three factors on fairness in carbon projects.
  • Links factors with contested fair trade and carbon processes and practices.
  • Maps key fault lines in fair carbon debates onto theoretical dimensions of fairness.
  • Signals need to make fairness definitions explicit when designing Fairtrade standards.

Abstract: Fairness is a relative concept with multiple, subjective and competing notions of what it is, how to achieve it, and for which beneficiaries. Fairtrade International’s collaborative efforts to develop a standard to certify Fairtrade Carbon Credits (FCCs) brought together multiple stakeholders in a deliberative context. This paper uses Q methodology to empirically assess the notions of fairness this wider consultation group held. Three distinct ‘factors’ (or perspectives) are identified, and discussed in relation to a multi-dimensional framework for exploring fairness. The first factor prioritises development delivered through organisations, participation in decision-making and use of minimum prices to adjust trade imbalances. The second factor conceptualises a non-exclusive approach maximising generation and sales of FCCs, involving a commodity chain where everyone performs their optimum function with financial transparency and information-sharing to facilitate negotiations. The third factor involves minimising intervention, allowing carbon commodity chains and project set-ups to function efficiently, and make their own adjustments to enhance benefits access and quality received by beneficiaries. The three factors reflect debates within carbon and fair trade spheres about who should be playing which roles, who should be accessing which benefits, and how people should be supported to interact on an uneven playing field. Communicating findings to standards organisations enables a more open and inclusive policy process. Our research provides a critical reflection on these plural notions of fairness, identifying areas of (dis)agreement within the FCC dialogue, and provides a wider, yet manageable, set of inputs for supporting the FCC process during its inception and subsequent implementation. Clearer definitions of “fairness” are also useful for standards organisations in reviewing ex post whether “fairness” goals have been met.

Rebecca J Howard <R.J.Howard12@leeds.ac.uk> is with the Sustainability Research Institute, School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, UK.

Q Bibliography: Weldegiorgis and Ali on impacts of mineral resources and development in Rwanda

Weldegiorgis, Fitsum S., & Saleem H. Ali (2016, September). Mineral resources and localised development: Q-methodology for rapid assessment of socioeconomic impacts in Rwanda. Resources Policy, 49, 11 pp., in press. (doi: 10.1016/j.resourpol.2016.03.006) (Text accessible: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301420716300381#)


•Factor analysis resulted in three shared perspectives on mining related issues.•Shared view resulted that mining benefits outweigh social and environmental losses.•Differed degree of acceptance of mining project impacts and prioritisation of value.•Hybrid of Q-sort, focus groups and interviews enhanced veracity of information.•Further research needed to re-evaluated and triangulate findings with other methods.
Abstract: The regional impacts of large development projects often require rapid appraisal in confined geographies. Impacts have largely been studied at country level, which have often neglected a finer granularity of analysis at sub-national level, which has specific relevance in Africa, since many mineral conflicts on the continent are highly localised. This study applies Q-methodology to quantitatively analyse qualitative perspectives regarding impacts of mining-led development at a district level in Rwanda – a densely populated country with a high economic growth rate. This approach revealed three classes of shared perspectives regarding topics of greatest concern to stakeholders: (a) economic diversification and sustainable socioeconomic development; (b) employment, resettlement, and mining land-use; and (c) income, benefit distribution, and social impacts. The use of this method to consolidate qualitative data through a deliberative process to get an output that can be used for broader geographic comparisons holds much promise for researchers and practitioners alike working in geographies of rapid development.

Fitsum S Weldegiorgis <f.weldegiorgis> is with the Sustainable Minerals Institute, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.

Q Bibliography: Bang and Kim on Korean and American praising styles and teaching practices

Bang, Hyeyoung, & Jungsud Kim (2016, Winter). Korean and American teachers’ praising styles and teaching practices. Mid-Western Educational Researcher, 28(1), 3-29.


Praising is a crucial part of teaching performance that greatly impacts student performance and self-esteem. South Korean teachers are traditionally known to possess authoritarian attributes, whereas U.S. teachers have contradictory beliefs in terms of why and how to use praise. We used Q methodology among 16 American and 22 Korean teachers to understand their subjective views on their teaching and praising practices, intentions and orientations of praising in teaching. Five praising types were obtained. Most American teachers, dubbed as Proud Hedonistic Praisers, showed strong confidence in their teaching and a higher preference of praising. In contrast, most Korean teachers had diverse praising intentions and orientations, dubbed as Humanistic (avoid praising), Authoritarian Behaviorist (use of criticism for controlling students’ behaviors and learning), Hedonistic Behaviorist (praise for maintaining good relations with students), or Student-centered Hedonistic Praisers (praise to help students).

Hyeyoung Bang <hbang@bgsu.edu> is in Educational Psychology, College of Education and Human Development, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH (USA).

Q Bibliography: Ramlo on centroid factor analysis and theoretical rotation

Ramlo, Sue (2016, Winter). Centroid and theoretical rotation: Justification for their use in Q methodology research. Mid-Western Educational Researcher, 28(1), 72-91.


This manuscript’s purpose is to introduce Q as a methodology before providing clarification about the preferred factor analytical choices of centroid and theoretical (hand) rotation. Stephenson, the creator of Q, designated that only these choices allowed for scientific exploration of subjectivity while not violating assumptions associated with other choices like principal components (PCA) and Varimax. Although Q software offers Stephenson’s preferred choices as factor analytic options, today most Q methodologists use the more “modern” factor analytical choices of PCA and Varimax. Similarly, reviewers and critics of Q research often question the use of centroid with theoretical rotation, further discouraging their use. Researchers who took statistics coursework since the advent of statistical computer software are unfamiliar with centroid and theoretical rotation, their history, their processes, and why they offer a means of best scientifically exploring pragmatic, meaningful factor analytical solutions within Q methodology studies. Statistical versus theoretical considerations are discussed.

Sue Ramlo <sramlo> is in the Departments of Engineering & Science Technology and Curricular & Instructional Studies, University of Akron, OH, USA.

Q Bibliography: Meshaka et al. on the involvement of pregnant women in research

Meshaka, Riwa, Stephen Jeffares, Farah Sadrudin, Nicole Huisman, & Ponnusamy Saravanan (2016, February). Why do pregnant women participate in research? A patient participation investigation using Q-methodology. Health Expectations, in press. ePublication prior to print.


Patient participation in study design is paramount to design studies that are acceptable to patients. Despite an increase in research involving pregnant women, relatively little is known about the motivational factors that govern their decision to be involved in a clinical trial, compared to other patient groups. Objective: To better understand the viewpoints of pregnant women who take part in clinical trials. Method: We chose to use Q-Methodology, a method of exploring the structure of opinions surrounding a topic. We developed a set of 40 statements that encompassed the reasons why pregnant women might want to take part in research and 30 research participants from the PRiDE study (an observational trial investigating the role of micronutrients in gestational diabetes) were asked to rank them in order of agreement. The finished matrices from each participant were compared and analysed to produce capturing viewpoints. Results: About 30 women aged 19-40 involved in the PRiDE study completed the questionnaire. There were two overarching motivators that emerged: a willingness to help medical research and improve our knowledge of medical science, and having a personal connection to the disease, therefore a potential fear of being affected by it. A third, less significant viewpoint, was that of a lack of inconvenience being a motivating factor. Conclusion and discussion: Understanding what motivates pregnant women to decide to take part in a research study is valuable and helps researchers maximize their uptake and retention rates when designing a trial involving pregnant women.

Ponnusamy Saravanan <p.saravanan> is in the Warwick Medical School, Coventry, UK.

Q Bibliography: Hunter on representations and identity in Taiwanese indigenous tourism

Hunter, William Cannon (2011). Rukai indigenous tourism: Representations, cultural identity and Q method. Tourism Management, 32, 335e348.

Abstract: In tourism, cultural representations of indigenous destinations are problematic. They are essential to the promotion of tourism, making destinations understandable and desirable to visitors. But they are also blamed for upsetting the cultural equilibrium of smaller destinations. However, in practice, the origin, mechanism and effects of touristic representations are not easy to identify. In this study, the problem of representations and resident cultural identity in indigenous tourism is explored. In consideration of the generative nature of representations and the contingency of subjectivities toward them, this study is context-specific, focusing on a small but significant community in southern Taiwan where indigenous tourism is a dominant industry and social issue. Q method, a technique designed for the systematic study of subjectivity in terms of opinions, beliefs, and attitudes is employed, eliciting responses from a P set (sample) of 30 participants. Subjectivities were elicited using photographs of one cultural representation, the indigenous Rukai standing stones. It was found that representations must be learned but can be ignored, and that in this community tourism is not the only socio-economic power that drives the feedback loop between representations and subjectivity. For tourism management, implications are that representations can be highly effective tools for destination promotion when informed by the diverse and highly individualized subjectivities of its residents and the production of quality local products.

William Cannon Hunter <primalamerica@yahoo.com> is in the Department of Convention Management College of Hotel & Tourism Management, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.

Q Bibliography: Mokry & Dufek on segmentation in tourism

Mokry, Stanislav, & Ondrej Dufek (2014). Q method and its use for segmentation in tourism. Procedia: Economics and Finance, 12, 445-452.

Abstract: This paper discusses the use of Q method as a useful tool for market segmentation in tourism. Q method is classified as exploratory inductive empirical research method. For the realization of this research the web application running within the server umbrela.mendelu.cz was used. The investigation was carried out using photographic materials. This online application was created at FBE Mendel University in Brno and implements Q method to online environment using visual information. The paper comprises description of the methodology of the Q method. The aim of the research was to identify groups of users of tourism products based on their preferences in relation to the preferred type of destinations. Photographs used for research depicted various types of destinations available in the Czech Republic have been selected on the basis of a content analysis of photographic database available at CzechTourism website. Total of 63 respondents from the students of Mendel University in Brno participated in this research. According to the survey results user segments based on their preferences in relation to the preferred destination were designed. Identification data of the respondents and other qualitative data about their preferences were obtained using the complementary questionnaire. Outcomes of this survey are included in long-term research project focused on the carrying capacity of tourism destinations and preferences of visitors in relation to tourist population in destination.

Ondrej Dufek <ondrej.dufek@mendelu.cz> is with the Faculty of Business and Economics, Mendel University, Brno, Czech Republic.

Q Bibliography: Chen & Hsu on good nurse traits and quality care

Chen, Shu-Yueh, & Hui-Chen Hsu (2015, November). Nurses’ reflections on good nurse traits: Implications for improving care quality. Nursing Ethics, 22(7), 790-802. (doi: 10.1177/0969733014547973) (previously posted as in press)

Abstract: Background: Good nurses show concern for patients by caring for them effectively and attentively to foster their well-being. However, nurses cannot be taught didactically to be “good” or any trait that characterizes a good nurse. Nurses’ self-awareness of their role traits warrants further study. Objectives: This study aimed (a) to develop a strategy to elicit nurses’ self-exploration of the importance of good nurse traits and (b) to explore any discrepancies between such role traits perceived by nurses as ideally and actually important. Research design: For this mixed-method study, we used good nurse trait card play to trigger nurses’ reflections based on clinical practice. Nurse participants appraised the ideal and actual importance of each trait using a Q-sort grid. The gap between the perceived ideal and actual importance of each trait was examined quantitatively, while trait-related clinical experiences were analyzed qualitatively. Participants and research context: Participants were 35 in-service nurses (mean age = 31.6 years (range = 23–49 years); 10.1 years of nursing experience (range = 1.5–20 years)) recruited from a teaching hospital in Taiwan. Ethical considerations: The study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of the study site. Findings: Good nurse trait card play with a Q-sort grid served as an icebreaker to help nurse participants talk about their experiences as embodied in good quality nursing care. Nurses’ perceived role-trait discrepancies were divided into three categories: over-performed, least discrepant, and under-performed. The top over-performed trait was “obedience.” Discussion: Patients’ most valued traits (“patient,” “responsible,” “cautious,” and “considerate”) were perceived by participants as ideally important but were under-performed, perhaps due to experienced nurses’ loss of idealism. Conclusion: Good nurse trait card play with Q-sort grid elicited nurses’ self-dialogue and revealed evidence of the incongruity between nurses’ perceived ideal and actual importance of traits. The top over-performed trait, “obedience,” deserves more study.

Shu-Yueh Chen is in the Department of Nursing, Hung Kuang University, Taichung City, Taiwan, R.O.C.

Jeffares and Dickinson 2016 on Online Q Sorting

An article out this month in the journal Evaluation demonstrates how Q-methodology can be used for evaluating collaboration between public service organisations. The tool in question is called POETQ (Partnership Online Evaluation Tool using Q). This is a tool that was inspired by earlier tools like FlashQ but designed to work across a range of devices and web browsers. The published article focuses on the rationale for designing such a tool and the challenge of designing a Q-set suitable for partnership evaluation.