Mixed methods research is consistently used quantitatively and qualitatively to understand and explore the many facets of a range of phenomena. Generally, mixed methods research involves the use of qualitative and quantitative methods simultaneously or concurrently, yet for the most part independently. What if these methods could be truly mixed? This chapter introduces readers to a methodology that aims to address this question – Q methodology. Q methodology allows for the sampling of subjective viewpoints and can assist in identifying patterns, including areas of difference or overlap, across various perspectives on a given phenomenon. Q methodology can be described as “‘qualiquantilogical’ combining elements from qualitative and quantitative research traditions” (Perz et al. BMC Cancer 13: 270, 2013, p. 13). This chapter will outline the five steps involved in conducting a Q methodology study: (1) developing the concourse, (2) developing the Q set, (3) selection of the P set, (4) Q sorting, and (5) Q analysis and interpretation. In order to contextualize and demonstrate how Q methodology can be used, we will present reflections on the use of this methodology with respect to constructions of sexual and reproductive health, chronic low back pain, and culturally and linguistically diverse people. These examples demonstrate how Q methodology can provide a unique and truly mixed way of studying human subjectivity.
Q methodology Social research Health research Mixed methods Subjectivity
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