Main Article Content
This article demonstrates the use of a theoretically inspired Q-methodological approach to explore and analyse stakeholders’ perspectives of their public participation experience in environmental impact assessment (EIA). Q methodology is a qualitative and quantitative approach designed to explore the breadth of social perspectives on a topic. Two evaluation themes explore the procedure and the skills and capacities necessary for participation. Each theme is elaborated through selected theoretical notions drawn from planning, socio-political, and human development literatures. The methodology was applied to two EIA case studies in South Africa and a selection of consent authorities. The findings indicate a range of participation experiences in the cases which highlight and contextualise procedural and capacity constraints in the South African practice. The research also demonstrates that a theoretically inspired Q-methodological approach can be a flexible, contextually appropriate and expedient research tool for public participation evaluation in environmental planning and monitoring practices.