Q-methodologyMethodology courses and philosophy of science

Course information

ECTS: 2.5 
Number of sessions: 4
Hours per session: 6
Course fee:

  • free for PhD candidates of the Graduate School
  • €475,- for non-members
  • consult our enrolment policy for more information


Telephone: +31 (0)10 4082607 (Graduate School)

Session 1
November 22 (Thursday) 2018
Location will be announced soon. 

Session 2
November 23 (Friday) 2018
Location will be announced soon. 


Q-methodology is an innovative method which enables systematic categorization of people’s perceptions about a particular topic.

This small sample method (30-50 participants) distinguishes between subgroups of people based on their views (rather than their socio-demographic characteristics) and identifies points of consensus and disagreement amongst the participants. In addition, the results of Q-methodology can be used to evaluate the effects of events or interventions on viewpoints, and to develop better questionnaires for specific topics and target groups.

Q-methodology is increasingly applied and published in a wide range of fields, such as health care, urban planning, environmental studies, childhood studies, teaching, and public administration. 

Working method

This hands-on course consists of two intensive sessions of 6 hours each. These sessions will include a mix of lectures, demonstrations and in-class exercises, and will address the relevant background and analytical steps for successfully conducting a Q-study. Study materials, including data, will be supplied. 

Learning objectives

After completion of this course, students are able to:

  • Understand the key principles and steps of Q-Methodology
  • Develop a Q-study in their own research projects
  • Conduct basic analysis and interpret the results of a Q-study

Session descriptions

Session 1  ​​​​​​
Part I: Introduction Q-Methodology

  • What is it, and what can you do with it?
  • Assignment: participate in a Q-study and reflection
  • PhD pitch: why I used Q and how it worked out for me

Part II: Study design and data collection

  • How to develop the study materials
  • How to collect data
  • Assignment: conduct an interview

Please bring a laptop to class with PQMethod installed on it (open source software); download from schmolck.org/qmethod/

Session 2
Part I: Data analysis and interpretation

  • How to administer and analyse Q data
  • How to make sense of your findings
  • Assignment: discover views on a selected topic and describe one of the views
  • PhD pitch: the choices I made in my analysis and interpretation

Part II: Connection and reflection

  • Resources for Q-Methodology: literature, software, network
  • How does Q –Methodology relate to other methods
  • How to connect Q-Methodology to survey methods
  • Assignment: is Q –Methodology useful for your research, what do you still need to conduct a successful study
  • Q&A

Please bring a laptop to class with PQMethod installed on it (open source software); download from schmolck.org/qmethod/


About the instructor

José Nederhand is a PhD Researcher at the Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences. Her main research interests include collaborative governance, public sector innovation and community self-organization in the care and welfare sector. José is also affiliated to the Netherlands School for Public Administration in the Hague. José has used Q-Methodology as part of a broader mixed-methods approach in her PhD Research.


Job van Exel is professor at the Erasmus School of Economics and the Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management. His main research interests include the methodology of health economics, in particular the study of health behaviours, perceptions and expectations, and the valuation of health and broader wellbeing effects of interventions in health care. Job is also affiliated to the Erasmus Happiness Economics Research Organization. Job has used and published on Q-Methodology for more than ten years.