A Brief Introduction to Q Methodology



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Q methodology is a method to systematically study subjective matters such as thoughts and beliefs on any given topic. Q methodology can be used for both theory building and theory testing. The purpose of this paper was to give a brief overview of Q methodology to readers with various backgrounds. This paper discussed several advantages of Q methodology that makes it attractive to researchers and practitioners who are interested in understanding different perspectives or behavioral patterns toward any given topic, its distinct position as a methodology, and how it fits into the qualitative—mixed—quantitative continuum. The paper further used two research studies as applications to demonstrate how to perform a Q methodological study, involving the following steps: development of the Q sort statements; selection of the P set (participants); Q sorting; and analysis and interpretation of Q sorts.


Citation: Yang, Y. (2016). A brief introduction to Q methodology. International Journal of Adult Vocational Education and Technology [Special Issue]: Quantitative and Mixed-Method Research, 7(2), 42-54. doi: 10.4018/IJAVET.2016040104


Mixed Methods, Q Methodology, Qualitative Continuum, Subjectivity