Realising the Potential of Q Methodology in Social Research: Patterned Subjectivity as 'Works of Thought'

Shemmings, David Realising the Potential of Q Methodology in Social Research: Patterned Subjectivity as 'Works of Thought'. In: International Sociological Association Annual Conference, 1-5 September , Naples, Italy . (The full text of this publication is not available from this repository)

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Abstract

The methodological ‘problem’ is that of easing and relaxing some of the tensions and differences between quantitative and qualitative methodologies and methods. Q Methodology (QM) offers one of the first “alternative” methods to have been developed in the context of (social) research and is now increasingly seen by many social researchers as an innovative complementary approach to qualitative analysis by developing conceptual categorisation through the quantification of ‘patterned subjectivities’ using Q-sorts. It is sometimes referred to as a qualiquantological approach. QM is capable of augmenting existing qualitative analytic techniques aimed at identifying patterns and themes in interview transcripts, fieldnotes or naturalistic observation. QM deploys factor analysis but the method requires no knowledge of mathematics to interpret the data obtained. Although as a method it relies upon a statistical technique to identify relationships within data, QM’s centre of gravity is clearly qualitative in nature. QM is a method/ology with a wide range of applications, particularly where exploratory research focusing on views, perceptions and attitudes is required. Unlike more traditional survey methods, in QM, categories are identified within the population concerned, not imposed on the population by the researcher, thus permitting a the identification of operant categories (that can then be used in standard questionnaire approaches, if necessary). As both a method and a methodology, QM offers distinct possibilities for the full involvement of users and research participants throughout a research study. Because they routinely assist in the design of the Q Sort statements, they become key social actors during and after the process of analysis; emergent and tentative analytic categories are also discussed and refined with them.

Item Type: Conference or workshop item (Paper)
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: David Shemmings
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2011 16:44
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2014 07:58
Resource URI: http://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/10884 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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