Q Bibliography: Grover on indicators of quality school education

Grover, Vijay Kumar (2015, August). Developing indicators of quality school education as perceived by teachers using Q-methodology approach. Zenith International Journal of Multidisciplinary Research, 5(8), 54-65.

Abstract: This investigation is an attempt to assess indicators of ‘quality school education’ using Stephenson’s Q-methodology designed to deal with subjective issues like one under investigation. Methodology is alternative of R-methodology which deals with objective issues and highly relies on quantitative analysis. In procedure of Q-methodology it is inter-person correlation put to factor analysis instead of inter-item correlation as in case of R-methodology. Investigator finalized thirty-nine items supposedly covering the concept under investigation; we technically call it concourse of the concept. Data was collected by using ipsative choice method of Q-sorting, which involves placing items (written on cards) in seven piles (having 1, 3, 8, 15, 8, 3, and 1 items) on a continuum from least approved to most approved. These items are scored from 1 to 7 in respect of piles moving from least approved to most approved measures. Depending on inter-correlation values, i.e., proximity, groups of persons were discovered. For each group responses by the members for all the items were averaged to find rank order for items. These items are then placed back in the Q-distribution to understand most approved and least approved measures of quality for a group. Study revealed that at least fifteen factors (one corresponding to each group) are running under the concept of quality school education. It is finally concluded that teachers differ significantly in their perceptions on the subject under investigation. Indicators developed include—Planning, Problem solving, Efficiency, Communication, Skills learning, Individual differences, Productivity, Teaching methodology, Freedom of expression, Leadership, Teacher, and Relation. In terms of hypotheses testing, study accepted all the hypotheses relating to existence of distinct groups, groups have different perceptions, and the methodology has been effective for dealing the subject under investigation.

Vijay Kumar Grover <grovervijaykom> is in the DAV College of Education, Abohar, Punjab, India.

Q Dissertation: Brown on principals’ perceptions of professional development

Brown, Crystal Lea (2013). What works? Principals’ perceptions of professional development. Doctoral dissertation (Educational Leadership), North Carolina State University.

Abstract: Principals play a pivotal role in the professional growth of teachers. In turn, teachers have a tremendous impact on student learning. This study seeks to understand the perceptions principals have of effective elements of professional development and their role in facilitating the professional development of teachers in order to impact student learning. Q-methodology was utilized to investigate the subjective opinions of public school administrators. Literature on professional development was reviewed and statements pertaining to effective elements of professional development were used to create a set of statements. Statements were printed on cards. Then, thirty-four public school principals and assistant principals sorted, in a forced distribution, the cards according to their beliefs about professional development. A post-sort survey was used to glean demographic and perceptual data. The Q-sorts were factor analyzed to reveal statistical correlations among the administrators. Focus group interviews for each factor were conducted in order to gain more insight about the administrators’ perceptions of professional development. Data analysis indicated three statistically significant factors: Sustained Over Time, Collaboration and Follow-Up, and Collaborate. Along with these factors, data emerged explaining how principals view their role in facilitating professional development for teachers. The findings of this study generate insights into professional development for teachers and provide policy makers, researchers, and practitioners information about this important topic.

Q Dissertation: Parker on the private school choice decision process

Parker, Tara Wooten (2015). Understanding the private school choice decision process: A Q-methodology study. Doctoral dissertation (Educational Administration and Supervision), North Carolina State University.

Abstract: The availability of school choice options has increased the schools’ accountability to both parents and students. This study’s purpose was to gain a deeper understanding of the subjectivity of the school choice decision process that private school parents undergo. Q methodology was utilized to explore this decision process. Research literature was reviewed and led to the development of statements addressing influential factors on school choice decisions. These statements were printed, and thirty-five private school parents sorted these statements based on the factors’ influence on their school choice decision. Post-sort interviews further explored the subjectivity of the decision process. The Q sorts were factor analyzed to determine the statistical correlations between the statements. Three emerging factors surfaced as distinct preferred school environments by private school parents. Data analysis explored these factors and a name for each factor was assigned based on the strongest influential statements. These three factors included a Developing the Whole Child Environment, a Strong, Academic Environment, and a Safe Environment with Like Peers. Findings presented numerous factors that influence school choice decisions. Data also provided information regarding perceived strengths and weaknesses of both public schools and private schools. The findings directed implications for both public and private school administrators and policymakers. These implications can help drive school reform initiatives. Without addressing these parent preferences, schools will not be able to compete in the market economy created by school choice.

Q Dissertation: Richardson on exercise science students’ views of obesity

Richardson, Laura A. (2016). Weights: An exploration of university exercise science students’ views of obesity. Doctoral dissertation (Curricular and Instructional Studies), University of Akron.

Abstract: The prevalence of obesity stigmatization and discrimination is powerful, socially acceptable and widely under-explored. It has been well documented over the past two decades that people of size are targets of discrimination. With the escalating trend of obesity and vast documentation of weightism, future exercise professionals will treat and assist many patients of size. This study investigated the views of students towards obesity and weight management treatments in a first year Exercise Science course. Q methodology was chosen as a method to explore and measure students’ subjectivity. Measuring subjectivity can be difficult to quantify especially when addressing sensitive material such as negative or discriminatory perspectives. The statement of the problem consists of a two-fold agenda exploring students’ views and implementing Q methodology as a needs assessment to identify areas of obesity education that may be considered for potential modifications within Exercise Science curricula. This study aims to empirically assess differing views and report first-year university students’ perspectives of obesity, within an introductory exercise science course, as a starting point to determine if additional educational strategies should be implemented within the undergraduate exercise science curricula. Providing a robust education for preprofessional students is critical and in the process, it is a priority to help minimize possible obesity bias and discrimination. Understanding and evaluating students’ views towards course content material promptly during the undergraduate studies may significantly facilitate threading awareness and exposure of weightism early and continuously throughout the undergraduate program. It is essential for students (preprofessional) to be educated regarding extensive issues of obesity care while being sensitive to treatment options. Identifying discriminatory or unconscious bias among students is the first step. Subsequently, developing mechanisms and strategies for educators to increase bias awareness for obesity acceptance must follow.

The focus on students’ subjective perspectives related to obesity has received unduly scarce attention in previous studies. This lack of attention may be partially caused by difficulties in measuring subjectivity. This current study addressed the challenge by developing an analytical approach using a robust concourse that increased the precision of exploring views. This study revealed first-year university students’ views of obesity and demonstrated how Q methodology can be used as a needs assessment tool in Exercise Science undergraduate program.

Laura A Richardson <laura2> is currently visiting instructor of Sports Science and Wellness Education at the University of Akron. An article related to her dissertation appears in Advances in Physiology Education, 2015, 39(2), 43-48, available at http://advan.physiology.org/content/39/2/43.

Q Dissertation: Parker on educators’ perceptions of how student backgrounds affect academic outcomes

Parker, James H., IV. (2015). Middle school educators’ perceptions of student backgrounds affecting student academic outcomes in rural coastal North Carolina. Doctoral dissertation (Education), North Carolina State University.

Abstract: The perceptions of educators affect their students. When educators discount their student’s ability to be successful based on student background, this is termed “deficit thinking.” Deficit thinking reinforces the stereotype threats of students, which may cause lowered academic outcomes for these students. Q-methodology was utilized to investigate the subjective opinions of middle school educators. I reviewed literature on deficit thinking and interviewed middle school educators pertaining to student background affecting educational outcomes to create a set of statements. Statements were printed on cards. Thirty-one middle school educators sorted the cards, in a forced distribution, according to their beliefs about student background. The Q-sorts were factor analyzed to reveal statistical correlations among the administrators. One-on-one and focus group interviews for each factor were conducted in order to gain more insight about the middle school educators’ perceptions of student background affecting educational outcomes. Data analysis indicated three statistically significant factors. Along with these factors, data emerged explaining how middle school educators view the role of student background affecting educational outcomes. The findings of this study generate insights into middle school educators’ perceptions of their students and provide policy makers, researchers, and practitioners with information about this important topic.

Q Dissertation: Ottawa on mentoring to improve first-year teachers’ experience

Wottawa, Robert J., II. (2016). Expert advice from mentor teachers to improve first-year teachers’ teaching and first-year experience. Doctoral dissertation (Interdisciplinary Educational Studies), Long Island University, C. W. Post Center.

Abstract: This study adopted an interdisciplinary perspective and employed Q methodology as a mixed-methods approach to uncover the tacit knowledge (as defined by Polanyi, 1966) of mentor teachers and provided shared viewpoints of advice to improve first-year teachers. Advice was elicited from mentor teachers from public schools on Long Island and the greater metropolitan region of New York to provide first-year high school teachers the necessary guidance to improve their teaching effectiveness and first-year experience. Eight themes of advice: (a) classroom management; (b) lesson planning; (c) technology; (d) assessment and data; (e) content knowledge; (f) communication and relationships; (g) professionalism; and (h) other insights emerged through a series of 11 expert teacher interviews prior to developing the 56 advice statements, that were then used for an anonymous online Q sorting survey by high school mentor teachers (n = 71). The analysis revealed eight shared viewpoints of 99% of the participants and explains 56.2% of the variance. The eight Q models represent eight hypothetical mentor teachers reflecting advice to improve the effectiveness of first-year teachers. Generalized linear modeling (GLM) was used to predict factor loadings of individual respondents on each Q model, where the dependent variables represent the covariates including: (a) content area, (b) teaching experience, and (c) highest education level. The findings have implications for tacit knowledge development and transference, expert advice, and recommendations for educational practice, teacher preparation programs and future research. Keywords: advice, expert judgment, explicit knowledge, first-year teacher, mentor teacher, Q methodology, tacit knowledge.

Q Dissertation: Lopienski on educational leaders’ understandings of career readiness

Lopienski, Sarah A. (2016).  How do educational leaders understand career readiness: A Q-methodological study.  Doctoral dissertation, Department of Educational Studies, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio.
Abstract: The journey to understanding career readiness has never been more difficult for today’s Kindergarten through grade 12 (K-12) educational leaders. In this study, data was analyzed using Q-methodology which discovered three factors holding five interpretable viewpoints. K-12 educational leaders not only presented an understanding about career readiness as developing the appropriate knowledge, skills and abilities to compete in the 21st century global economy, but also identified with aspects of vocational psychology’s perspective of career including self-awareness, making meaning in one’s life, and having a drive and desire to succeed. Data interpretation and analysis emphasized the need for K-12 educational leaders to re-create K-12 school culture by developing students who are employable while strategically positioning each student’s unique life stories to find purpose and meaning in life.
Sarah A. Lopienski <slopienski@gmail.com> is Vice President of School Operations, Educational Empowerment Group <http://www.edempowerment.com>, Akron, OH, U.S.A.

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: Godor on the deep/surface dichotomy in student studying

Godor, Brian P. (2016, January 17). Moving beyond the deep and surface dichotomy; using Q methodology to explore students’ approaches to studying. Teaching in Higher Education, (http://doi.org/10.1080/13562517.2015.1136275) ePublication prior to print.

Student learning approaches research has been built upon the notions of deep and surface learning. Despite its status as part of the educational research canon, the dichotomy of deep/surface has been critiqued as constraining the debate surrounding student learning. Additionally, issues of content validity have been expressed concerning situational and contextual differences in its interpretation. Q methodology was used as both a research method and an analytical technique for this study and has as its aim the exploration of subjectivity. The deep/surface dichotomy was not found in this study, but rather three unique types of study approaches. Moreover, through Q methodology, new novel combinations of statements were able to emerge, thus allowing the academic discussion to move beyond the deep and surface  dichotomy.

Brian P Godor <godor@fsw.eur.nl> is Honour’s Program Coordinator, Erasmus School of Pedagogical and Educational Sciences, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Baas, Rhoads, and Thomas on narratives about assessment in higher education

Baas, Larry R., James C. Rhoads, & Dan B. Thomas (2016, January-March).  Are quests for a “culture of assessment” mired in a “culture war” over assessment? A Q-methodological inquiry.  SAGE Open, 6(1), 1-17.  (DOI: 10.1177/2158244015623591)  Published on-line (accessible: http://sgo.sagepub.com/content/spsgo/6/1/2158244015623591.full.pdf)

Abstract:  The “Assessment Movement” in higher education has generated some of the most wide-ranging and heated discussions that the academy has experienced in a while. On the one hand, accrediting agencies, prospective and current clientele, and the public-at-large have a clear vested interest in ensuring that colleges and universities actually deliver on the student learning outcomes that they promise. Anything less would be tantamount to a failure of institutional accountability if not outright fraud. On the other hand, it is no secret that efforts to foster a “culture of assessment” among institutions of higher learning have frequently encountered resistance, particularly on the part of faculty unconvinced that the aspirations of the assessment movement are in fact achievable. One consequence of this tension is the emergence of an embryonic literature devoted to the study of processes that monitor, enhance, or deter the cultivation of a “culture of assessment” with sufficient buy-in among all institutional stakeholders, faculty included. Despite employment of a wide-ranging host of research methods in this literature, a significant number of large unresolved issues remain, making it difficult to determine just how close to a consensual, culture of assessment we have actually come. Because one critical lesson of extant research in this area is that “metrics matter,” we approach the subjective controversy over outcomes assessment through an application of Q methodology. Accordingly, we comb the vast “concourse” on assessment that has emerged among stakeholders recently to generate a 50 item Q sample representative of the diverse subjectivity at issue. Forty faculty and administrators from several different institutions completed the Q-sort which resulted in two strong factors: the Anti-Assessment Stalwarts and the Defenders of the Faith. Suggestions are offered regarding strategies for reconciling these “dueling narratives” on outcomes assessment.

James C Rhoads <jrhoads@westminster.edu> is in the Department of Political Science, Westminster College, New Wilmington, PA (USA).