Subjectivity, the Researcher, and the Researched
Stephenson’s work fundamentally blends a theory of subjectivity and a methodology for its study. However, in most Q studies, inquiry centres on perceptions, attitudes or discourses, not on subjectivity. A review of three exemplars of different uses of Q methodology concentrates in the purpose of the inquiry and the nature of that which is inquired into. Two terms each for inquiry and that-which-is-inquired-into are juxtaposed in an analogy: concourse is to Q sorting as subjectivity is to feeling. Q-methodology inquiry, conventionally conceived, privileges epistemology. However, that-which-is-inquired-into is not merely ontological, since it arises from Q sorting. Q sorting itself is an inquiry (loosely conceived) into some event or situation. Appreciating the extent of the common ground of subjectivity in various Q-methodology applications necessitates understanding that Q sorters both draw meaning from and put meaning upon in the act of Q sorting.