Methods of Belief: A Q Study of R Studies of Electoral Choice

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Mark J. Whattier


Peirce's four methods of establishing belief (tenacity, authority, reason, science) are examined in the context of students' R-methodological studies of voting behavior. Employing a Q sample composed of propositions concerning electoral choice, participants provided five Q sorts to represent the hypotheses they were testing using survey data, their own views about how voters decide, their views of the textbook author's standpoint, their views of the class instructor's standpoint, and a summary of their term papers' results, to which were added the personal Q sorts by the textbook author and class instructor. The resulting factor structures, supplemented by commentary in the students' term papers, provided evidence of Peirce's four methods by which doubt is resolved. Conclusions are reached about the need for cooperation and collaboration between potential scientists and their teachers.

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Whattier, M. J. (1988). Methods of Belief: A Q Study of R Studies of Electoral Choice. Operant Subjectivity, 12(1/2). Retrieved from