This article investigates the relation between Q methodology and phenomenology. The common characteristics of Q and phenomenology have been discussed by Q methodologists, but these discussions have remained at an abstract level. They look at how Q is close to the aims of phenomenology, but they provide little guidance on how to apply Q in a more phenomenological manner. As a result, phenomenology can easily become a mere label rather than a mode of enquiry. This can lead to overlooking important aspects when elaborating research designs for Q studies. It also leads phenomenologists to discard Q as a tool to achieve their goals. The contribution of this article lies not only in linking the purpose of Q to phenomenology but also in the identification of elements that can be manipulated by the researcher when designing a Q study in order to collect and analyze Q data in a phenomenological way. We suggest that the tools used by phenomenologists, specifically variations, can be applied in Q to improve the quality of the data collected. A framework is proposed to identify variations based on the different horizons described in phenomenology, supported by an illustrative single-case study.

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Operant Subjectivity

Stéphanie Gauttier, & Nicola Liberati. (2020). Exploring the Relation Between Q Methodology and Phenomenology: Designing Conditions of Instruction Based on the Phenomenological Concepts of Variation and Horizons. Operant Subjectivity, 42, 33–57. doi:10.15133/j.os.2020.002