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The Use of Interviews in Q Methodology: Card Content Analysis

Gallagher, Katie; Porock, Davina

Nursing Research:
doi: 10.1097/NNR.0b013e3181e4ffff

Background: Although much has been published in the literature on how to perform a Q methodological study, the use of interviews within this process has received little attention.

Approach: The purpose of this review is to explore the use of interviews in a Q methodological study.

Results: An introduction to Q methodology is provided. The aims of an interview within a Q methodological study are described, and how these aims lend themselves to a particular method of analysis is explored. How to perform this analysis is outlined.

Discussion: The use of interviews can increase the validity of a Q methodological study by providing the participant's rationale for analysis of the factor arrays. When to perform the interviews is still under debate, and further study is required to determine whether the timing affects the results.

Author Information

Katie Gallagher, MN, MARM, PhD, RN(child), is Lecturer, Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery, King's College London, United Kingdom.

Davina Porock, PhD, RN, is Professor of Nursing Practice, Queens Medical Centre, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom.

Accepted for publication March 8, 2010.

This research was funded through an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) award (PTA-031-2005-00171).

Corresponding author: Katie Gallagher, MN, MARM, PhD, RN(child), Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery, King's College London, 57 Waterloo Road, London SE1 8WA, United Kingdom (e-mail:

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.