Quantifying subjective data using online Q-methodology software
The Q-Sort methodology has been used to study participants’ subjective views on various topics (Brown, 1996). The task has historically been completed by manually sorting cards into categories that force responses into a normal distribution (Brown, 1996). Data collection using this method is time consuming and manual data entry is prone to human error. We describe here QMethod Software – a computerized web-based application that allows participants to sort and record their responses online. This online application eliminates the need for researchers to attend the study sessions and to manually enter data. QMethod Software described here is currently being used in both applied and cognitive psychology studies, including a clinical study that evaluates participants’ perception of behaviours seen as most characteristic or most uncharacteristic of psychological aggression or coercive control in situations of intimate partner violence. In a health psychology study, it is being used to examine people’s perceptions of food allergy, and in a psycholinguistics lab it was used to evaluate the affective valence, abstractness, and semantic richness ratings of words. We will show here that the data obtained from one of these psycholinguistic studies (abstractness/concreteness) correlates highly with existing measures (Brysbaert, Warriner & Kuperman, 2014) thus demonstrating that the Q-sort methodology and this particular implementation, the QMethod Software app, reproduces more typical evaluations/assessments in the psycholinguistics literature.
Keywords: Q-Method, software, online, psycholinguistics, concreteness, ratings, psychology
Published online: 13 May 2020
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