Q Methodology


Amanda Wolf


The course is suitable for those who have some academic methodology knowledge and/or practical research experience, ideally both quantitative and qualitative, although the course is open to all disciplines. Participants are encouraged to prepare by closely reading an article reporting Q-methodology research (see references section for a few suggestions).

Course outline

This course is designed for those who have a solid knowledge of research design and methodology and a curiosity about what Q methodology offers as an approach to the study of subjectivity. Over three days, we will examine each step in a Q-methodology study. In addition to the basic steps, attention will be given the foundational theory and concepts and full instruction in using the software PQMethod. Participants will have time to discuss their own potential applications.

Day One: Research purposes and topics suitable for Q methodology; theoretical foundations; design considerations: defining the sampling population, sampling and identifying participants.

Day Two: Data collection; using PQMethod; post-sort interviews.

Day Three: Interpreting results; reporting research; class applications.


Participants should bring a laptop; they will be provided with a USB stick, which will include the freeware program PQMethod and other course resources.


McKeown BF & Thomas DB (2013). Q methodology (Quantitative Applications in the Social Sciences series, 2nd Ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Ockwell DG (2008). ‘Opening up’ Policy to Reflexive Appraisal: A Role for Q Methodology? A case study of fire management in Cape York, Australia. Policy Sciences, 41, 263–292.

Schmolk P (2012). PQMethod (2.31). [Computer software]. Retrieved from http://schmolck.userweb.mwn.de/qmethod/.

van Eeten MJG (2001). Recasting Intractable Policy Issues: The Wider Implications of the Netherlands Civil Aviation Controversy. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 20(3), 391–414.

van Exel NJA, de Graaf G, Brouwer WBF (2006). “Everyone dies, so you might as well have fun!” Attitudes of Dutch youths about their health lifestyle. Social Science and Medicine, 63, 2628–2639.

Recent articles are also announced on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/qmethodology/