Theoretical Rotation as a Tool for Identifying Points of Leverage in People's Perspectives for Program Improvement
Operant Subjectivity , Volume 27 - Issue 3 p. 125- 144
This paper's main objective is to provide a specific example of a research context in which theoretical rotation (also referred to as judgmental, geographic, or hand rotation) was justified and pursued. The paper specifically illustrates 1) how the authors determined theoretical rotation criteria; 2) the process by which these criteria guided the rotation; and 3) why this was more statistically, theoretically, and pragmatically satisfying than using varimax rotation. The case focused on the social, economic, and contextual reasons why some farmers in Uruguay declined to participate in a dairy herd improvement project, called the genetic registry. Q methodology was used to cast non-participating farmers' perspectives in relation to those of program planners. Because the unrotated factor matrix supported program planners loading on the same factor, theoretical rotation was used to retain as many program planners as possible on the same factor. By following this rotational scheme, one functional perspective was most heavily populated with program planners; the result was a data solution that contrasted the program personnel's viewpoint with that of the other three views that emerged in the rotation, all of which were populated entirely by farmers. Practical implications point to the suitability and power of theoretical rotation versus varimax rotation in Q methodology when the P set "matters". That is, it matters when Q methodology is used intentionally to keep one set of respondents on the same factor in order to contrast their shared perspective with other attitudes that emerge in the study. The result is contrasting functional perspectives and the identification of leverage points between the view that represent points of convergence and divergence.