Developing the Q-Sample and P-Set in Q-Methodology: An Example From Policy Studies


Q-methodology is an objective approach to analyze patterns of subjectivity on chosen topics. It combines semistructured interviews with an engaging structured exercise that guides respondents to sort statements of opinion about the study topic along a scale of agreement. Two critical, preparatory steps in the method are the development of the Q-sample and the P-set, the sample statements of opinion and the set of respondents, respectively. This case focuses on these early steps, describing their application to a study on strategies of policy advocacy. The case starts with a discussion of how the subjective nature of policy advocacy makes its study appropriate for Q-methodology. It follows with detailed descriptions of how representative subjective statements were developed and how a set of respondents was selected.

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