3. Methodology in:

Andreas Schwenk

Finding a Cue through "Q", page 33 - 38

Applying Q-Methodology to Compare German and U.S. Diplomats' Attitudes towards U.N. Security Council Reform

1. Edition 2019, ISBN print: 978-3-8288-4306-6, ISBN online: 978-3-8288-7239-4, https://doi.org/10.5771/9783828872394-33

Series: Wissenschaftliche Beiträge aus dem Tectum Verlag: Politikwissenschaften, vol. 81

Tectum, Baden-Baden
Bibliographic information
Methodology After a multitude of various reform proposals and differing policy opinions between Germany and the United States on UN Security Council reform, it is the intention of this master thesis to evaluate where common ground is to be found nevertheless. This shall be done by a comparative approach. As the issue of UN Security Council reform is one widely discussed amongst policy experts and public officials in both countries, clearly held opinions on the subject matter can be expected. For this master thesis, ten diplomats (five Germans & five Americans; both active and retired) were chosen to participate in a sorting of Q-samples to evaluate their attitudes towards UN Security Council reform. The methodological approach chosen for this thesis was “Q-Methodology”, which is a very useful scientific approach to evaluate opinions or attitudes within smaller, but more relevant, directly related and influential groups (such as diplomats for foreign policy issues) to deduct tendencies in larger populations. The normal sample size for participants within this method ranges between 10 and 50 (Müller et al., 2004, 3). “Q-Methodology” is therefore not meant to be representative in terms of the sample size of participants used, intentionally concentrating on a limited field of experts to find typologies among qualified opinions or attitudes. As a mixture of quantitative and qualitative research methods, ”Q- Methodology” is a useful tool to identify and evaluate subjective attitudes or opinions of individuals. In particular, it aids in the assessment of individuals' preferences to be put in relation to each other. With the help of typology creation, the participants' attitudes on the subject matter are than compared to each other. “Q-Methodology” was first published by psychologist and physician William Stephenson (1935) in his article Correlating Persons Instead of Tests and further elaborated on in detail in The Study of Behavior: Q-Technique and Its Methodology (Stephenson, 1953). While traditional “R-Methodology” in social science (i.e. political surveys) relies on a priori created categories into 3. 33 which participants are grouped, “Q-Methodology” is reconstructive (Dryzek et al., 1993). In this methodological approach it is precisely the results of the participants' answers that create the categories, and not the researchers defining the categories for the participants. In the end, this methodology does not compare “patterns across variables, but rather patterns within and across individuals” (Dryzek et al., 1993, 50). “Q-Methodology” finds itself as a very popular scientific approach throughout various fields of social science. It is especially in political science (Baas, 1997; Brown, 1980; Dryzek et al., 2000; Richard, 2000; Thomas, et al., 1996), medical psychology (Chen, 1996; Kogan et al., 2002; Lecouteur et al., 2001), media studies (Carlson et al., 2001; Singer, 1997; Singer et al. 1996), market research (Byung et al., 2001; Mosyagina et al., 1997), environmental psychology (Barry et al., 1999; Shilin et al., 2000); and gender studies (Febbraro, 1995; Gallivan, 1994) that “Q-Methodology” has left a scientific impact. In “Q-Methodology”, the researcher selects an array of statements to be put forward to the study participants just like in a regular survey. A set of statements is called a Q-Sample, which is then ranked by the study participants according to for example their agreement with the statement from “-5” (do not at all agree) to “+5” (absolutely agree). According to Müller et al. (2004), there are three categories of statements: naturalistic statements, ready-made statements, and standardized statements. Naturalistic statements were made by the study participants themselves through news releases, publications or speeches. Ready-made statements come from the “life context” (Müller et al., 2004, 6) of the participants. Standardized statements are taken from standardized personality tests. The sample design of a “Q-Methodology” study can be either theoretically structured or theoretically unstructured. In a theoretically unstructured design, the statements are randomly reduced to Q-Samples. In a theoretically structured design however, the statements are reduced into Q-Samples by categorizing them with the intent of equal categorical representation. The results of each participant after the study process are then referred to as Q-Sorts, meaning that the participant has ranked the reduced set of statements (Q-Sample) according to his preferences (Q-Sort). There are two ways of allowing the participants to rank the Q-Samples. One way is to have unforced Q- Sorts, which means that for example on a scale of “-5” (do not agree at 3. Methodology 34 all) to “+5” (absolutely agree), the participant is allowed to put as many statements as he wishes into each ranking strength. Another way is to have forced Q-Sorts, which means that the participant is limited to a certain number of times he can put statements into a particular ranking strength. All the prior is the normal process and is referred to as an extensive Q-methodological analysis. In addition to this, there is the intensive Q-methodological analysis, in which the researcher choses to take a more intensive look at some participants through, for example, interviews. For this master thesis, the “Q-methodology” approach was combined with political discourse analysis as found in Dryzek et al. (1993), and the conducting of additional interview rounds with some diplomats. An overall of 150 statements were collected out of various sources from the German and American discourses on the topic of UN Security Council reform to be able to formulate a reflection of the discourse on said topic at hand in both countries. The statements are both naturalistic and ready-made. These statements were collected from official policy documents (32), press briefings (17), magazines (27), government reports (13), academic papers (26), international treaties (23), and online journals (12). For the reduction process of the statements to transform them into Q-Samples, a theoretically structured design was chosen as in Dryzek et al. (1993). The categories chosen were in accordance with Seidel's (1985) and Alker's et al. (1986) essential elements of political discourse: (1) ontology; (2) agency; (3) motivation; (4) natural relationship. According to Dryzek et al. (1993), an ontology is a “set of entities recognized as existing”, an agency is an institution “assigned to these entities”, a motivation is the reason that drives the agent's behavior, and natural relationship refers to “hierarchies taken for granted” (Dryzek et al., 1993, 51). Furthermore to make it two dimensional, the political discourse elements were put against different types of claims. As one can expect within political discourse, claims about the world will be made. Therefore, four types of claims were selected in accordance with Toulmin (1958). These four types of claims are: (1) definitive; (2) designative; (3) evaluative; (4) advocative [see Table 1]. Definitive describes the definition or meaning of something, designative describes a question of fact, evaluative concerns the value of something, while advocative deals with something that could or 3. Methodology 35 should exist. All 150 statements from the primary selection process were then grouped into the created matrix according to the prior introduced categorization into one of the 16 cells. A statement from cell 2 for example is “When the Security Council legislates, it sets rules for the United Nations membership as a whole.” One from cell 7 is “Germany has in all its decisions on the Security Council always taken into account EU interests.” Another statement from cell 9 reads “Every modification of the veto will meet substantial resistance from the side of the five permanent members.” One more statement from cell 16 is “Membership of the Security Council shall be increased from fifteen to twenty-four by adding five permanent and four non-permanent members.” Table 1 Matrix for Sampling a Concourse Discourse Elements Type of Claim Ontology Agency Motivations Natural Definitive 1 2 3 4 Designative 5 6 7 8 Evaluative 9 10 11 12 Advocative 13 14 15 16 Note: Numbers indicate the cells from 1 to 16. From each of the cells, two statements were selected on being the farthest away from each other in their meaning. Through this process, the original 150 statements could be reduced to an overall Q-Sample of 32 out of 16 categories with two statements per category. The Q-Sample of 32 statements was then presented to the ten participants of this study, five American diplomats and five German diplomats. In addition, interviews were conducted with some study participants to be able to reflect on the results in a more detailed way. Therefore, this study constitutes an intensive Q-methodological approach. The participants were asked to rank the statements on a scale from “-4” (completely disagree) to “+4” (completely agree) with a voting strength of “1; 2; 4; 5; 8; 5; 4; 2; 1” [see table 2]. The reason for why diplomats were exclusively chosen as study participants is due to their expertise on the subject matter 3. Methodology 36 (UN Security Council reform) and international relations as a subfield of political science, their insight on their countries' respective policies vis-á-vis the United Nations, and their knowledge about internal deliberations of the two respective diplomatic services on the subject matter. After collecting all the Q-Sorts of the study participants, a principal component factor was performed. Following, the factors were rotated within a varimax factor analysis. Lastly, a Q-Analysis was performed. All three statistical calculations were performed with Peter Schmolck's20 PQMethod 2.35 software2122. Table 2 Scoring Sheet -4 -3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3 4 1x 2x 4x 5x 8x 5x 4x 2x 1x 20 Peter Schmolck, M.A. is a former scientific research assistant at the Bundeswehr University Munich. http://schmolck.userweb.mwn.de/ 21 http://schmolck.userweb.mwn.de/qmethod/. 22 The original FORTRAN software is called Qmethod, and was developed by John Atkinson at the Kent State University in 1992 for mainframe platforms. 3. Methodology 37

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United Nations Security Council reform has been hotly debated since the end of the Cold War, which unleashed a global geopolitical realignment. But since 2007, the push to update the Security Council to reflect the power-sharing realities of our modern age – giving for example Germany a seat on the coveted panel – has largely stalled. Finding a Cue through “Q” chronicles the history, key initiatives and major players in this important discussion, while focusing on U.S. and German involvement on the council, and reboots the debate through political discourse analysis and intensive Q-methodology. Diplomats from Germany and the United States were asked to rank their agreement with statements made by stakeholders from government, business, academia and media in both countries. Instead of presenting a priori categories and foregone conclusions, this method describes the parameters of the debate through typologies derived from fresh diplomatic assessments. Social perspective narratives were created from the results, leading to the surfacing of two dominant discourses: Convinced Institutionalism and Cautious Institutionalism. Andreas Schwenk’s innovative approach provides new insight into the thinking of German and U.S. diplomats, and offers a valuable contribution to overcoming the stalemate. “Considering the growing number of attacks on multilateralism, Mr. Schwenk’s meticulous study clearly illustrates the need for reform of what is designed to be the world’s pivotal multilateral organization. A lack of reform of the U.N. Security Council might lead to future challenges to its primacy. It was my great pleasure to contribute to this fascinating book.” Doris Hertrampf, German Ambassador (Ret.) “I enjoyed participating in Mr. Schwenk‘s rigorous and systematic study of the vexed issue of U.N. Security Council reform. His analysis demonstrates broad commitment to keeping the Security Council effective, while the diversity of views confirms that changes to the number, regional distribution, or powers of its members will continue to be difficult.” William B. Wood, U.S. Ambassador (Ret.)