The Q-sort methodology
The Q-sort or "Question-sort", is based on a list of questions.
Its objective is to bring out the representations that a group has of a given concept. It allows them to be expressed and confronted. It aims to generate a demand for further study by allowing debate and exchange.
It consists of a list of 15-20 items dealing with a concept. These items are always vague, in order to stimulate critical thinking and to clarify the representations.
The process is based on 3 steps1. Each person reflects individually on the list of proposed items. He or she must identify 3 (to 5) that seem true and 3 (to 5) that seem false. This first step usually takes 10 minutes.
2. People then meet in groups of 3 to 5, to choose 3 (to 5) items that seem unanimously true, and 3 (to 5) that seem unanimously false. They also note the points of disagreement. This should be a long time, about 30 minutes. It is a time to confront the representations and build an argument.
3. Each group presents its results to all the participants. The facilitator writes down in three columns: the true, false and divergent items. The facilitator can then launch a debate and lead to clarify the points of convergence and divergence. (Duration: about 30 minutes).
We suggest you below an example of Q-sort about animal.
Q-sort related to the human-animal relation
1. Consumer demand for always more surface area per animal, will lead to
2. Wanting to question hunting is a conception of humans disconnected from their naturalness.
3. Animals do not have the same emotions as humans.
4. Drinking milk means making an animal suffer because it is separated from the baby at birth
5. If I had to choose between saving a handicapped person from dying a deep mind and a healthy animal, I would choose the animal
6. Vegetarianism is denying the fact that man is a predator
7. The animal must have rights
8. Certainly, we make some animals suffer, but it is necessary for the well-being of humans and animals in general
9. The actions of animal protection associations are essential to change practices by breeding
10. Any selection made on the animal calls into question its integrity
11. Domestication is a process of natural co-evolution between man and animal.
12.If I had to kill the animals I eat myself, I would prefer to be a vegetarian.
13. Consumer demand for always more surface area per animal, will lead to
14.Pets are degenerate compared to their wild ancestors.
15. Meat created in the laboratory (in vitro) is a solution to end animal suffering.
16. Yes, we kill animals, but they don't know they're dying.
17. Domestication means enslaving the animal
18. It is not by increasing the size of the hens' cages that we will make a big difference to their well-being.
19. A farmer should avoid entering into an emotional relationship with his animals. It will make it all the more difficult for him to have to kill them.
20.Wanting to eliminate all forms of suffering is impossible, suffering is part of life.
21.Intensive agriculture is to be avoided. It does not respect the animal at all