Qsorter is a general purpose tool for using the Q-sort method in behavioral science. With Qsorter, the user can sort the items of a Q-set in two steps, and score the observed Q-sort using one or several criterion Q-sorts. The three steps are:

  • Rough grouping of items:
    The first step is to make a somewhat more rough grouping of items, based on whether the items are more or less characteristic of the case. This is done on the Classifying Sheet. This sheet is always active. Screenshot
  • Sorting into Q-Distribution:
    The second step is to make the grouping of items in piles correspond to a fixed distribution (this distribution is specified within the itemsfile). This step is available after all the items are roughly grouped on the Classifying sheet. Screenshot
  • Viewing, printing and exporting the output:
    In the third step, output can be viewed and additional output can be produced. Screenshot



The minimum input for the program is a file containing the items of the particular Q-set a user wants to score, and the user's own judgments on which piles the items belong for a particular case. Optionally, up to six criterion Q-sorts can be specified with which the observed Q-sort can be compared.

The output can consist of a q-sort data file, an export file for data-analysis in a spreadsheet or statistical analysis program, on screen display of correlations between observed sort and criterion-sorts, on screen graphical display of these correlations, and printer output of graphical display, numerical scores, and the content of the items in the two most extreme piles.

Qsorter can be used to compute reliability coefficients for an observed q-sort against other observed q-sorts of the same case.

With the companion program Qsorter Itemsfile Editor, users can format existing q-sets to be scored with Qsorter. Qsorter takes from the generated Itemsfile the number of piles and the number of items per pile.

Qsorter was written for Windows -based PC's. See the manual for additional system requirement details.

Qsorter was written and designed by Stephan Dekker in collaboration with Carlo Schuengel, both from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. We acknowledge the role of the institution for disturbed adolescents, OG Heldring in Zetten, in stimulating and supporting the development of this program for diagnostic purposes.