Unlike other research methods typically used to capture visitor data, such as surveys, Q methodology seeks to determine why people believe what they do as opposed to how many people believe a certain thing. Q methodology, an adaptation of factor analysis, offers a rigorous, quantitative study of subjectivity which is uniquely suited to address the complex problems of teaching and learning that history museums address. Q Methodology allows researchers to quantify individual teacher’s perceptions and use that data to discern meaningful patterns across groups of teachers to explain how and why teachers (in groups or individually) construct meaning about historic sites and their programming.
Leeds Metropolitan Quick-Q Animation: Q methodology is a technique for modelling viewpoints that was developed by William Stephenson (1902-1989). This animation provides a short non-technical introduction to the methodology, outlining the different stages involved in conducting a Q study. The animation was funded by the UK Higher Education Academy, as part of the National Teaching Fellow ‘Assessing Students at Masters level’ project.