Assessment Research in Nursing Education: The Case for Q Methodology
Despite the rhetoric emphasizing the need to become evidence-based practitioners, most nursing educational practice is still not based on comprehensive, cumulative, or robust evidence. The reasons for this are multiple and involve both methodological and pragmatic issues. Applied research in the fields of nursing education takes place in real time and in changing contexts, over which full control is impossible. The purpose of this discussion is to present the key challenges facing educational outcomes-assessment researchers and to call for the increased use of Q methodology in nursing education scholarship. Q methodology is able to tease out prevalent discourses and subjectivities and provide invaluable insight into the various views held by stakeholders. Indeed, it might invite an opportunity to include a largely forgotten voice in nursing educational outcomes-assessment research: the patient. Following a brief review of Q methodology in educational research, research is proposed that would include Q methodology to inform nursing curricula and build more active collaborations between academia and clinical practice.