This article demonstrates the use of a theoretically inspired Q-methodological approach to explore and analyse stakeholders’ perspectives of their public participation experience in environmental impact assessment (EIA). Q methodology is a qualitative and quantitative approach designed to explore the breadth of social perspectives on a topic. Two evaluation themes explore the procedure and the skills and capacities necessary for participation. Each theme is elaborated through selected theoretical notions drawn from planning, socio-political, and human development literatures. The methodology was applied to two EIA case studies in South Africa and a selection of consent authorities. The findings indicate a range of participation experiences in the cases which highlight and contextualise procedural and capacity constraints in the South African practice. The research also demonstrates that a theoretically inspired Q-methodological approach can be a flexible, contextually appropriate and expedient research tool for public participation evaluation in environmental planning and monitoring practices.

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Operant Subjectivity

Nicholas Philip Simpson, & Richard Charles Hill. (2020). A Theoretically Inspired Q-Methodological Approach for the Evaluation of Public Participation in Environmental Impact Assessment. Operant Subjectivity, 42, 1–32. doi:10.15133/j.os.2020.001