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  1. Michael Bambery1,
  2. John Porcerelli2

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0762

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Bambery, M. and Porcerelli, J. 2010. Q-Methodology. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–3.

Author Information

  1. 1

    University of Detroit Mercy

  2. 2

    Wayne State University Medical School

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Q-methodology embraces, and is particularly suited for, the study of human subjectivity. Commonly (though incompletely) known as the Q-sorting technique, Q-methodology encompasses a unique set of psychometric and operational principles that, when combined with specialized statistical applications of correlational and factor-analytical techniques, provides psychological researchers with an organized and rigorously quantitative means for examining subjective impressions (McKeown & Thomas, 1988). It allows complex naturalistic data to be reliably rated and examined. From the standpoint of Q-methodology, the subjectivity inherent in many areas of psychology is not problematic; it is merely regarded as points of view on any matter to be researched. In fact, it is only subjective judgments that are at issue in Q-methodology, and although they are typically improvable, they can nevertheless be reliably and intersubjectively observed, and they can be shown to have structure and form. Q-methodology is employed to test whether subjective phenomena are intersubjectively observable and co-occur; this is done by assessing their relationships through rigorous quantitative means (Jones, 2000).


  • Q-methodology;
  • Q-sort technique;
  • Q-sort method;
  • personality;
  • psychotherapy process