Definition: The Q-Sort Scaling is a Rank order scaling technique wherein the respondents are asked to sort the presented objects into piles based on similarity according to a specified criterion such as preference, attitude, perception, etc.
In other words, a scaling technique in which the respondents sort the number of statements or attitudes into piles, usually of 11, on the basis of some specified criterion. For example, suppose the respondents are given 100 motivational statements on individual cards and are asked to place these in 11 piles, ranging from the “most agreed with” to the “least agreed with”. Generally, the most agreed statement is placed on the top while the least agreed statement at the bottom.
Ideally, the objects to be sorted shall not be less than 60 and not more than 140. While, the range between 60 to 90 is considered as the most reasonable range. The number of objects to be placed in each pile is prespecified, such that the resulting data represent a normal distribution of objects over the whole set under analysis. The Q-Sort Scaling was developed to facilitate a quick discrimination among a relatively large number of stimulus objects.
Thus, Q-Sort Scaling helps in assigning ranks to different objects within the same group, and the differences among the groups (piles) is clearly visible.