The Issue of Generalization in Q Methodology: "Reliable Schematics" Revisited

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Dan B. Thomas
Larry R. Baas


Research employing Q technique and its attendant methodology has long
encountered criticism targeted on the allegedly specious,
"non-generalizable" nature of such findings. Drawn typically from
small-sample investigations of human subjectivity, wherein respondents
supply data through Q sorts composed of items of unknown reliability,
findings of Q studies are considered by many to fall far short of the
minimal criteria for scientific measurement. Issues of generalization in
Q methodology, it is argued, are amenable to examination in terms of
the notion of "reliable schematics." Findings from two pairs of
"tandem-study" explorations bear strong witness to the schematically
reliable character of Q-study results produced from differing probes of
the same subjective phenomenon. Viewed against this backdrop, the
frequently voiced concerns over reliability issues stemming from the use
of Q would appear quite exaggerated if not altogether unfounded.

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How to Cite
Thomas, D. B. ., & Baas, L. R. . (1992). The Issue of Generalization in Q Methodology: "Reliable Schematics" Revisited. Operant Subjectivity, 16(1/2). Retrieved from