Using Q methodology as a mixed methods approach to study beliefs about early childhood education

Academic Article


  • Studying early childhood practices as either appropriate or inappropriate limits our understanding of a complex issue. Q Methodology was used as a mixed method quantitatively and qualitatively to explore beliefs about developmentally appropriate practices as aligned to the National Association for the Education of Young Children's guidelines. The purposeful sample comprised 23 teachers, 15 parents, and 15 teacher education candidates from the Southwest of England. A principal components analysis of the data indicated three conceptual viewpoints that provided distinct narratives about the types of practices and experiences that are considered appropriate and inappropriate in early childhood education. The three views were of the culturally responsive teacher, the classroom that has a social cohesiveness based on open communication, and the teacher as the primary mechanism as an agent of change. A rationale for the use of Q Methodology to explore the inherent subjectivity in educational values, beliefs, or opinions is provided. © 2008-2012 eContent Management.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Ernest JM
  • Start Page

  • 223
  • End Page

  • 237
  • Volume

  • 5
  • Issue

  • 2