Q-sort technique – what is it and what is it based on?

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Q-sort is a research technique that was developed in the 1960s and has since been widely used in psychology, sociology, education and other social sciences. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what a q-sort is, its purposes and where it came from.

What is the q-sort technique? Definition of the concept

The q-sorttechnique (or Q-method) is a survey research method that involves the respondent ordering a set of statements or phrases. The respondent has to compare each set of statements and evaluate which are most important to him or her and which are less important. The results are then used to obtain information about the respondent’s preferences and priorities and are used to determine his profile.

What is the purpose of using the q-sort technique?

Q-sort is often used in psychological and sociological research to better understand how people perceive and evaluate different events. It is particularly useful in studies of attitudes, values, opinions and other aspects of personality.

The q-sort technique is also used to establish a hierarchy of needs or values in a society, allowing researchers to better understand the society and its culture.

What is the q-sort technique based on?

Q-sort is based on the researcher comparing statements or phrases. The respondent has to read each statement and evaluate whether it is most true, very true, true, weakly true or not true at all. The statements can be about different aspects of the respondent’s personality, such as attitudes, values, opinions, etc.

After evaluating each statement, the respondent compares them with each other and determines which are important to him or her and which are less important. The statements are placed in one of five categories: most important, very important, important, less important and not very important.

When the respondent finishes rating the statements, the results are analyzed by the researcher, who can draw conclusions about the respondent’s profile and priorities.

Q-sort technique – origins

The q-sort technique was developed in the 1960s by psychologist William Stephenson. The basis for the technique was the research on attitudes that Stephenson conducted among students. This research showed that people tend to classify expressions according to a hierarchy to determine their attitudes and preferences.

Stephenson described the q-sort technique as “a method of cross-comparison” that allows “assigning statements to categories that reflect their degree of importance to a given respondent.” Since then, the q-sort technique has spread rapidly in many fields and is still widely used today.

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