The Q methodology operant construct is examined in terms of some implications of operantcy for the comprehensive approach to psychological subjectivity. After briefly noting B. F. Skinner's operant and an early reference to the construct by W. Stephenson, the developer of Q methodology, this paper explores seven ways in which operantcy facilitates the study of subjectivity. These include [1] subjectivity as purely behavioral, and not as one side of some mind-body dualism; [2] the sorter's perspective as primary, rather than secondary, to that of a test constructor; [3] operant factor structure as emitted and inherently meaningful; [4] factors as interpretable in their own right, and not as tests of preconceived hypotheses; [5] operant factors as naturally-occurring and confrontable; [6] complementarity, whereby in the same experiment some factors may be paradoxical yet still essential for describing the outcome; and [7] the field system alternative of quantum physics as opposed to the causal determinism found in classical physics. The main conclusion is that the operant is used in Q methodology in ways that are consistent with the latest developments in the logic of science.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.15133/j.os.2002.006
Journal Operant Subjectivity
Citation
Dennis J. Delprato, & Steven R. Brown. (2002). Q Methodology and the Operant Construct. Operant Subjectivity, 25(3/4), 139–147. doi:10.15133/j.os.2002.006