Designing a Q Sample for a Study with Adolescent Foster Children
Operant Subjectivity , Volume 34 - Issue 3 p. 125- 145
Over recent years, we have witnessed an increasing focus on including children in research. In this article I share some experiences about including adolescent foster children in a Q study exploring what 'family' means for children in foster care. The main focus is on challenges in designing a Q sample to represent different aspects related to the research topic, in which making use of a Fisherian balanced-block design is central. The participants were invited to make comments about their Q sorts, and articulate to what extent they felt that the Q sort provided an accurate picture of their perception of family. The participating adolescents felt that the Q sort captured the different aspects of what family meant to them. Q methodology is shown to provide the flexibility that is necessary when including children in research. It offers a reasonably valid and concise way for children to express their perspectives.