Social Constructionism Redefined: Human Selectionism and the Objective Reality of Q Methodology
The main aim of this paper is to demonstrate how social constructionism can be used make sense of studies in the Q methodological tradition. In order to maximize the effectiveness of this demonstration, the paper seeks to clarify the term ‘social constructionism’ and to correct some avoidable misunderstandings. Social constructionism is presented as a realist ontology, the difference between constructionism and constructivism is discussed, and the new term ‘human selectionism’ is introduced. In the final section, a physical analogy is then employed to demonstrate the principles of human selection at work and in order to illustrate one possible interpretation of the Q methodological procedure. The tendency for distinct ‘groupings-of-individuals’ (and hence distinct factors) to be discernible in multi-participant Q methodological data is also discussed.