PhD student preparation

Overview

Your task is to rank 14 previously generated issues in order of importance.

WebQ, a Web based version of a Q-sort, a part of the Q-method, will be used. Please read the instructions carefully before commencing the Q-sort.

Alternatively, if you may want to learn by playing, then go directly to WebQ, click on some radio buttons, and then click the Review button. This will give you a quick idea of how to sort statements.

Instructions

You are required to rank 14 issues by placing them in 5 piles ranked from most important (top) to least important (bottom). The 5 piles follow a roughly normal distribution, with 2 items at each of the extremes (most important and least important), 4 items in the middle or neutral pile, and the others in between. The piles are labeled +2 to -2 to indicate their degree of importance, as demonstrated in the following diagram.

Most important
+2
+1
 0
-1
-2
Least important

Sorting -- an example

Imagine that the IS department of an organization wants to assess its internal customers' attitude to service quality. It asks these customers to Q-sort 4 statements using a forced distribution of the following form:

Most important
+1
 0
-1
Least important
In other words, each customer is required to place 1 statement in the +1 category (most important), 2 in the middle or neutral category, and 1 in the -1 category (least important). Initially, the statements are randomly ordered and all placed in the middle pile

Starting condition

Most important
+1
 0
3 IS employees will give prompt service to users.
1 The IS unit will be dependable.
2 IS employees will have the knowledge to do their job well.
4 When the IS unit promises to do something by a certain time, it will do so.
-1
Least important
Symbols

Three symbols are used to indicate the condition of the number of statements in each category. For example:

One statement too few.
Two statements too many
Exact match of two statements
Q-sorting

Statements are sorted by clicking on a radio button. For example, to move a statement to the most important category, click on the rightmost button (i.e. ). At any point during a Q-sort, you can click on the Review button to view the results. Following is the result of moving statement 3 to the top category.

Most important
+1
3 IS employees will give prompt service to users.
 0
1 The IS unit will be dependable.
2 IS employees will have the knowledge to do their job well.
4 When the IS unit promises to do something by a certain time, it will do so.
-1
Least important

Notice that the statements are in order from most important to least important and see how the symbols have changed.

Note: Keep sorting until you get all green, then click on the Send button

Completed Q-sort

Most important
+1
3 IS employees will give prompt service to users.
 0
1 The IS unit will be dependable.
4 When the IS unit promises to do something by a certain time, it will do so.
-1
2

 

IS employees will have the knowledge to do their job well.
Least important

Note: The mailto protocol is used to mail the results of the Q-sort to the researcher. You may receive an alert informing you that your e-mail address will be sent with the Q-sort results. If this concerns you, then delete your e-mail address (for Netscape, use Options > Mail & News Preferences> Identity). After sending the results, restore your e-mail address.

Pre-sorting

If there are many statements to sort, you may want to first divide them into three piles. Use the rightmost, middle, and leftmost buttons to create three piles (e.g., more important, important, and less important). Click on the Review button to sort these statements. Then you can sort each of the piles.

The WebQ window

Control

Help - access this window Review - display statements in ranked order. Use to review your ranking of statements Send - send the results of the Q-sort to the researcher

Statements

This window contains the statements to be ranked. They are randomly ordered prior to display. The radio buttons are used for sorting and pre-sorting.

Now you can click WebQ to commence sorting.

Warning: This script works has not been extensively tested with all versions of Netscape or Internet Explorer

This page and the software were developed by Rick Watson