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Q Methodology

Edited by: Published: 2010
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Q methodology is a combination of conceptual framework, technique of data collection, and method of analysis that collectively provides the basis for the scientific study of subjectivity. This is distinguished from R methodology, which provides the basis for the study of what is objective in human behavior. Innovated in the mid-1930s by British physicist–psychologist William Stephenson, Q methodology focuses on opinions and perspectives that are gathered using the well-known Q-sort technique. These data are then submitted to factor analysis, pioneered by Stephenson's mentor Charles Spearman, which reveals the segmentation of subjectivity inherent in the substantive domain under consideration. Given the ubiquity of subjectivity, Q methodology applies to all areas of human endeavor—social attitudes, decision making, administration, the arts and humanities, cultural values, policy, economics, education, ...

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