Q Methodology

Q Methodology is a research method used in psychology and in social sciences to study people’s “subjectivity”—that is, their viewpoint” (Wikipedia, 2019).

“Q-methodology is one approach that can be used to help policy makers and researchers actively engage with those who are important in policy implementation, and anticipate their responses. Q-methodology combines qualitative and quantitative research methods to systematically explore and describe the range of viewpoints about a topic” (Alderson, Bryant, Ahmed & House, 2018) .


This is a 3 stage process (Valenta & Wigger, 1997):

  • Stage one involves developing a set of statements to be sorted;
  • Stage two requires participants to sort the statements along a continuum of preference;
  • Stage three the data are analyzed and interpreted


“Q-methodology research emphasizes the qualitative how and why people think the way they do; the methodology does not count how many people think a certain way. The goal of Q-methodology is, first and foremost, to uncover different patterns of thought (not their numerical distribution among the larger population” ( Valenta & Wigger, 1997).

Q-method.org: For more information on Q-methodology

Healthcare Resources

Alderson, S., Foy, R., Bryant, L., Ahmed, S., & House, A. (2018). Using Q-methodology to guide the implementation of new healthcare policiesBMJ Qual Saf27(9), 737-742.

Valenta, A. L., & Wigger, U. (1997). Q-methodology: Definition and application in health care informatics. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association4(6), 501-510.