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Within the field of psychology, card sorting has been used for making inferences about participant characteristics, such as reaction time (Jastrow, 1898), memory function (Bergstrom, 1893; Bunch & Rogers, 1936), and personality assessment (Block, 1961).
Later applications of sorting activities include the development of the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (Berg, 1948), a neuropsychological test, often used clinically for identifying frontal lobe impairment (Anderson, Damasio, Jones, & Tranel, 1991) and, more recently, the use of card sorting for structuring cartographic symbols (Roth et al., 2011,).
In the first year, student work is supplemented with laboratory exercises (such as an anatomy or histology lab) and sessions with content experts. Although considerable planning led to the identification and development of numerous resources available for student use in the integrated curriculum, as the Fall 2011 implementation date neared, the faculty and administration realized that it was essential to develop an intuitive and logical way for students to access these resources.
Some challenges for course site organization, imposed by the curricular changes, included the following: Addressing the challenges listed above and providing appropriate attention to order and consistency within and among course sites were identified as keys to a more effective engagement strategy.
As most of the organizational challenges, identified above, related to student usage, and because students spend substantially more time interacting with the course sites than do faculty members or administrators, students were recruited to help determine which specific information architecture conformed best to student organizational preferences and expectations for site navigation.
Q methodology arose as a technique for investigating subjectivity and has largely been used in research that hinges upon participants’ perceptions and as an important methodology for qualitative analysis (Brown 1996).
Q sorting refers to the ranking or grouping of variables by participants and is the means by which data is generated for factor analysis in Q methodology.
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These data allow site developers to display content in such a way that the extraneous cognitive load required to navigate the site is minimized, and users can retrieve information from the site more easily.