Stephenson: Defining Concourses and Selecting Statements Using Fisher’s Balanced Block Design and Newton’s Fifth Rule
Operant Subjectivity , Volume 41 - Issue 1 p. 48- 64
The most important aspects of Q methodology are defining the concourse and selecting representative statements. William Stephenson trained a number of his students in the technique, some of whom, in turn, went on to train their own students. Stephenson also left unpublished manuscripts in the Missouri Western Historical Manuscripts Collection that describe the professors and scientists who influenced his thinking as he developed Q methodology. He used Fisher’s Balanced Block Design in his selection of self-referent statements. He also saw Isaac Newton’s Fifth Rule as providing a justification for calling Q methodology a science of subjectivity and as guide to finding the simplest way to extract factors. I have used focus groups, content analysis and social media to identify concourses and the statements that represent them. I have drawn on Stephenson’s health care studies as the foundation for my own studies of health care. In doing so I learned that balancing negative and positive statements in the Q sort is important for the best outcomes.