This book is a wonderful and refreshing attempt to introduce people to the theory and practicalities of doing Q methodology. The authors cleverly and simply start by providing a background to Q, and explain the history behind factor analysis. The chapter resonate trust in the authors knowledge about Q, thus trusting the reader to understand each of the concepts discussed or to further research any other areas that have not been covered within the book.
The book signposts readers to other resources and is truly a converting tool for those who were sceptical of using Q as a reliable methodology. There is a link to a free software package that can be used to input Q-sort data and analyse it and another link to the ‘bible’ of Q methodologists – Brown (1980) online PDF article (I’ve downloaded it myself).
The book takes us into the ins and outs of Q methodology and design, including the various pros and cons of sampling methods, research questions, and items development/selection. The valuable appendices are very handy, including a sample participant instructions sheet and a brief guide to use one of the most common free software Q packages. I just felt a bit underwhelmed with the suggestions to the Q packages available, and maybe even with the lack of mentioning the QCom software (Gwilliam, 1995), which is compatible with SPSS without much fussing around. Overall, this book is compiled in such a simple way that it becomes more like a manual and a guide, for people who want a stepwise approach to conducting a Q study.
I have used the book myself in a recent study and to train others in conducting Q studies. I truly recommend it to anyone either thinking of running a Q study or just trying to learn more about this method, at both undergraduate or postgraduate levels. It is definitely a great value as a teaching tool, which can help format lectures and workshops on Q method. Fortunately Q methodology is one of these versatile methods that can be used in research, education and clinical areas. Due to their collaborative nature Q sorts can be used with children, adolescents, patients with disabilities, and the general population. Q can use images, text, sounds, tastes, or anything else that researchers can think off. The sky, and creativity, is the limit and this book is the map.
Finally, the book provides valuable advice on preparing a Q manuscript for publication, and in the skills behind selecting the most suitable journal for a peer reviewed publication with most impact and reading audience.