Q-ing for health: a new approach to eliciting the public’s views on health care resource allocation

Rachel Baker, John Wildman, Helen Mason, Cam Donaldson, The SVQ study team

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)
264 Downloads (Pure)


The elicitation of societal views about healthcare priority setting is an important, contemporary research area, and there are a number of studies that apply either qualitative techniques or quantitative preference elicitation methods. However, there are methodological challenges in connecting qualitative information (what perspectives exist about a subject) with quantitative questions (to what extent are those perspectives 'supported' in a wider population). In this paper, we present an integrated, mixed-methods approach to the elicitation of public perspectives in two linked studies applying Q methodology. In the first study, we identify three broad viewpoints on the subject of health priorities. In the second study, using Q-survey methods, we describe and illustrate methods to investigate the distribution of those views in the wider population. The findings of the second study suggest that no single viewpoint dominates and none of the three views represents a 'minority perspective'. We demonstrate the potential of Q methodology as a methodological framework that can be used to link qualitative and quantitative questions and suggest some advantages of this over other approaches. However, as this represents the first applied study of this kind, there are methodological questions that require further exploration and development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283–297
Number of pages15
JournalHealth Economics
Issue number3
Early online date10 May 2013
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014


  • social values
  • Q-methodology
  • distributional justice
  • equity
  • QALYs
  • societal preferences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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