Attachment Q-Sorter


Q-Sort App Icon

The Attachment Q-Sorter (AQS) application for Mac® provides a convenient drag and drop interface for use of the Q-sort methodology in Attachment Theory research. As an alternative to printing decks of q-set cards, sorting them by hand, and then entering the data by hand, the AQS enables researchers to select one of the three available Q-sets, create data sets for any number of subjects, as well as save and reload Q-sort data sets that are in progress.

Sorting of q-set items is accomplished by dragging and dropping Q-set items from the main table of items into one of the categorized sub-tables. Q-set items may also be dragged and dropped from one sub-table to another, or dragged and dropped from a sub-table back to the main table.

Q-set Sorting DescriptorsDuring the sorting process, the AQS provides continuous feedback about the status of the current sort, including which items have be categorized, as well as a count of the number of items within each sub-table. Once Q-sort data sets are completed, data is easily exported to a tab-delimited file that includes the criterion item scores for the specific Q-set.

The English versions of the Attachment Q-set, the Maternal Behavior Q-set (90 item and 72 item versions), and the Parental Secure Base Support Q-set are currently supported.

AQS 2.1.2

Item Sorting with the AQS

Three Pile Sorting
AQS/MQS Preliminary 3-pile Sort
Nine Pile Sorting
AQS/MQS Final 9-pile Sort
Seven Pile Sorting
PSBS 7-pile Sort

90-item and 72-item Q-sets

Sorting with the Attachment and Maternal Behavior Q-sets is a two-step process. The first or Preliminary Sort involves dragging and dropping Q-set items from the main item table onto one of the three sub-tables.

The sorting categories of the preliminary tables are Uncharacteristic of Child (Mother), Neutral/Cannot Judge, and Characteristic of Child (Mother).

The Secondary or Final Sort window contains three tabbed sections representing the three previously completed preliminary sort categories. The procedure is the same as before, except now each of the three preliminary sort categories has three sub-tables associated with it for a total of nine sub-tables. The nine sorting categories are taken from Block (1961). Once all nine tables contain 10 items each, or 8 items for the 72-item Maternal Behavior Q-set, the researcher may proceed to either the next subject's sort or export the data set.

49-item Q-sets

Sorting with the 49-item Parental Secure Base Support Q-set is a single step process carried out by dragging items from the main table to one of seven descriptor sub-tables. The seven sorting categories are the same as the final nine categories that appear in the AQS/MQS sub-tables, except for the deletion of the two "Somewhat..." categories.

Once all seven sub-tables contain seven items each, the researcher may proceed to either the next subject or export the data set for analysis.


Default Q-set Selection

Q-set PrefsEither of the four Q-sets may be set as the default set that is loaded when the AQS application is opened. The default is also automatically set to the selected Q-set when a new Q-sort data file is created.

Participant Variable Labels

By default subject variable labels are S1, S2...Sn. However, AQS Preferences allow the researcher to define their own subject variable labels for their data file. For example, if an observer's initials ("SPS") are used as the subject variable label, AQS will generate the variable labels as SPS1, SPS2…SPSn.

Data Export Post Processing

Additional preferences allow the researcher to set whether the exported tab-delimited data file is automatically opened by the researcher's preferred statistics program following completion of the data export process.


Attachment Q-Sorter 2.1.2

AQS Application Design and Programming
Stan Soria, Ph.D. © 2004-2019

Q-sets and Q-sort Method

Attachment Q-set Version 3.0
Everett Waters, Ph.D.
State University New York, Stony Brook
Attachment Theory and Research at Stony Brook

Parental Secure Base Support Q-set 1.0
Everett Waters, Ph.D., Yuan Gao, Ph.D., Melanie Elliott, Ph.D.
State University New York, Stony Brook
Attachment Theory and Research at Stony Brook

Maternal Behavior Q-set Version 3.1
Greg Moran, Ph.D., David R. Pederson, Ph.D., Sandi Bento, Ph.D.
Western University, London, Ontario, Canada
Department of Psychology Western University, Ontario

The Q-Sort Method in Personality Assessment and Psychiatric Research
Jack Block, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology University of California Berkeley, California
Charles C. Thomas Publisher, Springfield, Illinois. 1961. PDF of Book

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