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Book details
  • SubGenre:Methodology
  • Language:English
  • Pages:412
  • Paperback ISBN:9781667809342

Cultivating Q Methodology

Essays Honoring Steven R. Brown

by James C. Rhoads

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This volume of essays is in honor of Professor Steven R. Brown, the preeminent scholar of Q methodology. Q methodology, innovated by the British physicist/psychologist William Stephenson (1902-1989), Q methodology is a conceptual framework and set of procedures to systematically and scientifically study the subjective. Professor Brown has dedicated his academic life, more than 50 years and counting, to advancing the methodology and Stephenson's profound ideas. Each of the contributors in this volume are experts in the methodology as well, and the book is divided into 3 sections: 1. Chapters honoring Brown's legacy; 2. Chapters devoted to methodological aspects of Q; and 3. Applications of Q methodology to various topics. Professor Steven R. Brown has directly impacted the work of each of the contributors of this volume, and hundreds more who have sought to use Q methodology to study topics spanning the human sciences.

The volume is edited by James C. Rhoads, Dan B. Thomas, and Susan E. Ramlo. Chapter authors include Mohammad Ali, Larry Baas, Rachel Baker, Bob Braswell, J. David Gillespie, James Good, Dennis Kinsey, Robert A. Logan, Bruce McKeown, James Paul Old, Susan E. Ramlo, James C. Rhoads, Paul Stenner, Michael Stricklin, Daniel Sundblad, Dan B. Thomas, Job van Exel, and Amanda Wolf.


Anyone interested in research related to determining subjectivities, meaning people's opinions about a topic, will be interested in reading this text. Certainly, this text is a must-have for anyone interested in Q methodology or who has used Q methodology. Q Methodology (Q) is a complete methodology which involves technique (sorting), method (factor analysis), philosophy, ontology, and epistemology. Q reveals and describes divergent views in a group as well as consensus. Q was created by William Stephenson (1902-1989) who possessed PhDs in physics (1926) and psychology (1929) and studied psychometrics with Charles Spearman, the creator of factor analysis. Professor Steven R. Brown was a student of Stephenson at the University of Missouri-Columbia, where he received his undergraduate and graduate degrees. Since 1967, he has been teaching at Kent State University, first in the Department of Political Science, until his retirement in 2011, and since then as an adjunct professor in the Graduate School of Education. In addition to his teaching, Brown has distinguished himself as a scholar in the fields of political science, political psychology, the policy sciences, literary criticism, evaluation and measurement, experimental design, methodology, and most importantly, Q methodology. It was during his graduate school days that Brown encountered William Stephenson, who innovated Q methodology in 1935. Brown has devoted his professional life to the advancement of Stephenson's profound ideas, and along the way has made enormous contributions to Q methodology, himself. In fact, since Stephenson's passing in 1989, Professor Steven R. Brown has emerged as the foremost authority on Q methodology and its amazing utility in studying every facet of the human sciences. This festschrift dedicated to Professor Steven R. Brown, consists of thirteen chapters authored by other experts in Q methodology within a variety of disciplines. These chapters are organized into the following three sections: Legacy (of Brown), Methodology (discussions of methodological aspects of Q), and Applications (varied applications across multiple disciplines). In addition, there is an introduction that provides a brief historical overview of Steven R. Brown's academic history and contributions to Q methodology.

About the author

James C. Rhoads is Professor of Political Science at Westminster College (PA), where he currently serves as Chair of both the Political Science Department and the Criminal Justice Studies and Sociology Department. He earned a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. at Kent State University, where his dissertation was directed by Steven R. Brown. He has published numerous articles and has twice served as President of the International Society for the Scientific Study of Subjectivity.

Dan B. Thomas earned a B.A. in political science from Whittier College, a M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from Kent State University where his Master’s thesis and dissertation were directed by Steven R. Brown. He is Professor Emeritus (political science) at Wartburg College, where he retired in 2016 after 41 years of fulltime teaching.  e isHe isHe is co-author (with Bruce McKeown) of Q Methodology (2nd edition, 2013, Sage).  He has published more than 50 articles on topics spanning the social sciences, is a former editor of Operant Subjectivity, as well as a recipient in 2014 of the Stephenson Award by ISSSS.

Susan E. Ramlo (BS in Physics & Astronomy / Mathematics, Mount Union College, MS in Physics, Miami University, PhD in Education, University of Akron) is recognized as an international expert in Q methodology and mixed methods research.  Ramlo has held various leadership positions within the International Society for the Scientific Study of Subjectivity. Her YouTube channel (Sue-Z Q) is dedicated to assisting researchers interested in Q methodology.  Ramlo is the owner of a research consulting firm, SueZ Q, LLC.  She was a tenured professor for 26 years and spent seven years as industrial physicist.