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Stephenson’s work fundamentally blends a theory of subjectivity and a methodology for its
study. However, in most Q studies, inquiry centres on perceptions,
attitudes or discourses, not on subjectivity. A review of three
exemplars of different uses of Q methodology concentrates in the purpose
of the inquiry and the nature of that which is inquired into. Two terms
each for inquiry and that-which-is-inquired-into are juxtaposed in an
analogy: concourse is to Q sorting as subjectivity is to feeling.
Q-methodology inquiry, conventionally conceived, privileges
epistemology. However, that-which-is-inquired-into is not merely
ontological, since it arises from Q sorting. Q sorting itself is an
inquiry (loosely conceived) into some event or situation. Appreciating
the extent of the common ground of subjectivity in various Q-methodology
applications necessitates understanding that Q sorters both draw
meaning from and put meaning upon in the act of Q sorting.