Q Methodology and the Operant Construct

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Dennis J. Delprato
Steven R. Brown


The Q methodology operant construct is examined in terms of some
implications of operantcy for the comprehensive approach to
psychological subjectivity. After briefly noting B. F. Skinner's operant
and an early reference to the construct by W. Stephenson, the developer
of Q methodology, this paper explores seven ways in which operantcy
facilitates the study of subjectivity. These include [1] subjectivity as
purely behavioral, and not as one side of some mind-body dualism; [2]
the sorter's perspective as primary, rather than secondary, to that of a
test constructor; [3] operant factor structure as emitted and
inherently meaningful; [4] factors as interpretable in their own right,
and not as tests of preconceived hypotheses; [5] operant factors as
naturally-occurring and confrontable; [6] complementarity, whereby in
the same experiment some factors may be paradoxical yet still essential
for describing the outcome; and [7] the field system alternative of
quantum physics as opposed to the causal determinism found in classical
physics. The main conclusion is that the operant is used in Q
methodology in ways that are consistent with the latest developments in
the logic of science.

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How to Cite
Delprato, D. J., & Brown, S. R. (2002). Q Methodology and the Operant Construct. Operant Subjectivity, 25(3/4). Retrieved from https://ojs.library.okstate.edu/osu/index.php/osub/article/view/8908