Version 3.3 updated 5 Feb 2016
This short guide will help you administer your own Q sorts using the POETQ application. It is best to work out the parameters and instructions for your study in a static word file rather than trying to configure your study online. Below is a template that resembles the various fields in the POETQ administrator. Examples of previous instructions based on our recent study of integrated health and social care are included. It is recommended you modify the text to fit your needs. Once you have your statements, grid parameters and instructions ready log into the admin section of your allocated POETQ domain to set up a study ready to collect Q sorts online.
Setting up your POETQ
To get into configuring your POETQ study you will need to be issued a domain, username and password
It is also recommended you use either Firefox or Safari browsers to access your POETQ admin. Internet Explorer works but is less stable than other browsers.
POETQ is configured through the admin section that comes as part of your domain. Once issued with a domain, you need to visit your domain admin section at the following location
enter your user name and password.
Tip: some users have suggested it takes 2 or 3 attempts the first time they try to log in. If it says you are logged in – simply click on the POETQ logo to enter the admin section.
Set up video
For advice on how to set up a POETQ study – you can view the following video https://jeffar.es/2013/02/12/poetq-set-up/
The table below contains three columns. The first column reproduces the various fields required to set up a POETQ study.
The second column contains example text from a recent study of integrated commissioning in health and social care. Edit this text to fit the requirements of your study.
The third column includes guidance notes. Please note use of formatting such as [number]; [study], etc must be preserved to ensure
POETQ set up fields
|Heading||Example text(as used in POETQ study of integrated working in Leeds, June 2012)
|Title of study||Integrated health and social care||Displayed at the top of each page|
|Internal identifier||Leeds||Forms the URL address for the study it is also the short reference name for all studies –one word is best|
|Invite only?||unchecked box||*Always Uncheck this box|
|Email participants?||Unchecked box||*Always uncheck this box
|Q method settings||This section sets up the basic grid for your study.|
|Range of values||-4 to 4||Sets the number of piles for your final results grid. Typically people use -3 to 3 if using less than 30 statements, -4 to 4 for 40-50 and so on. Please note if you use -6 to 6 or more the grid may not fit on most screens.|
|This sets how many statements can be placed in each column. They need to add up to the number of statements in your study and reflect the number of columns you have allowed in the Range of values above. They have to be comma separated. Example here is suitable for 40 statements.|
|Customise Text||This section allows you customise most text used in the POETQ process. The text in the box includes titles (text above the dashed line) and instruction text (text below dashed line). To make text bold include stars around **text**|
Welcome to POETQ and thank you for agreeing to take part in this study exploring the outcomes of integrated health and social care teams in Leeds.
This study is designed to be simple to complete and there are instructions throughout in order to support you in responding to the questions set out on this site. If you are stuck at any point then click the help button in the top right hand corner and guidance here should assist you.
Rather than lots of tick-box questions, the second half of the survey involves sorting statements about integrated health and social care. The sorting leads to the production of a grid that represents your perspective, we will then take this and compare them with others taking part.
If you would like to view a 1 minute youtube video demonstrating the sorting procedure, or learn more about the tool we are using click here
There are seven main stages to the survey and usually takes between 15 and 25 minutes. If you need to leave the survey at any point then simply make sure that you have completed that section of the survey and pressed the next button in the bottom right hand corner, upon re-entry you will return to the last place you saved data from.
|This is the text they read when they land on the site from clicking on the link.
To have paragraphs perform a double space after the full stop and then press enter for your new paragraph.
|1 Your Role
|The title and text of the first page after the welcome – usually contains a few demographic questions
You can have as many as you like – but too many will test the patience of your respondents. We find most people will offer around 4 questions at this step of the process.
|2 Understanding of integrated health and social care
Please adjust the two sliders to a position that reflects your view. If you need help at any point during the survey, click the Help button in the top right corner.
|Optional step following Form text questions – you can ask them to rate their understanding or similar of any issue. You configure the scale (such as clear to unclear) below.
You can have one slider or several but all use the same scale.
|Slider left text||Unclear||Left hand label of the slider scale|
|Slider right text||Clear||Right hand label of the slider scale.|
|3 Levers and barriers to integrating care
Here is a list of factors that people have told us can sometimes help or inhibit effective integration of health and social care. From your experience choose at least one lever and one barrier. You will then be given the opportunity to say why.
|This next optional step allows you to ask people to identify barriers and levers that enable or prevent integrated working (or similar). The specific barriers and levers are configured further below. For now this is just the instruction at the top of the page.|
(not in use)
Please choose a picture that best reflects how you feel within your organization.
|Please note this is an untested aspect of POETQ and is not recommended.|
|Presort text||4 Statements about integration in Leeds- do you agree?
Based on your experience of integrated health and social care in Leeds, place the statement below into one of the three boxes depending on whether you agree or disagree. You can drag or click on the box itself. If you are not sure or the statement does not apply to you place it in neutral. There are 40 in total. In this first stage follow your instincts, there is time later to refine your views.
|This is the first time that the respondent gets to see the Q sort process. It allows them to familiarise themselves with the statements through a process of sorting them into three piles – agree, disagree and neutral. After this they will be asked to refine their preferences.
Some researchers prefer to keep the instructions to a minimum here –
|Thinning text||5 Refine your preferences
|This step is where they are presented with their agreeable statements and asked to select usually 2 or 3 (depending on the shape of your grid) that are most like their point of view
This swings back and forth like a pendulum – asking for agreeable and least agreeable statements. It is best to use this box just to put a title.
|Thinning initial text||Below are the statements you agreed with in the previous step. To begin ordering them select **[number]** you agree with the **most**. Click next and you will do the same with some of your least agreeable statements.||The text they see with the first set of agreeable statements. Ensure you maintain the [number] formatting (this will enter the actual number, depending on the requirements of your study).
|Thinning agree text||Among these **more** agreeable statements please select **[number]** statement[s] you agree with the **most**.||As above – retain the [number] formatting. The **’s simply make the text bold.|
|Thinning disagree text||Among these **less** agreeable statements please select **[number]** statement[s] you agree with the **least**.||As above|
|Pyramid text||6 Your preferences in a pyramid
Your sorting has produced the following grid ranging from agree less to agree more. We will compare your unique combination with others completing this survey. If you want to swap any statements you can do now. It is not too late.
|This step is where they see all their preferences reflected in an upturned pyramid grid. This is designed to reflect their point of view. You can instruct them to swap statements – or you might just want to reassure them and ask them to check over the grid and change anything before entering into the final step.|
|Questions text||7 Why?
This is the final stage of the survey. You chose the following four as your most and least agreeable statements. Please take a couple of minutes to tell us why. If there is a link between the four statements or an example that springs to mind, tell us this too.
|We always ask why they chose the most agreeable and least agreeable statements – if two at each end they will be asked about both. If three at each end they will be asked to enter text for all 6 statements – 3 agreeable and 3 least agreeable etc.|
|Why agree text||Why do you agree most with the statement: [statement]?||Preserve the [statement] formatting|
|Why disagree text||Why do you agree least with the statement: [statement]?||Preserve the [statement] formatting as above|
|Finish text||Thank you for your participation
Your submission has been received successfully. We look forward to sharing our results with you in due course. In the meantime if you wish add any further comments, find out more about the methodology behind this survey tool or report bugs in the software, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org Your unique reference code for correspondence is the long URL in the address bar above. Many thanks for taking part in the study.
|This is the final screen they see once data has been submitted – use it to thank them or confirm that the data has been safely sent. You might like to offer more info about the study or give a contact email.|
|Comments text||Any other comments?||This is an opportunity to ask one last question at the foot of the same screen as the Questions text above. Usually it is comments but you could ask for example of missing statement, first name, pseudonym so they can identify themselves in the data.|
|Email receipt text
Thank you for completing the [study] survey. This email confirms that your results have been received.
To access a copy of your results, please click on this link:
This is your own personal link to your results. Only you and the researchers administering this study can access these results.
If you have any further questions please contact Stephen Jeffares at email address
|If using POETQ to send emails – this is the text that is sent with a link to their data/response. Please note to preserve the following formatting:
[name] (if unknown it defaults to colleague)
[study] name of study
[link] their data
|Save changes||This will save all changes made on the Edit Study page. You then need to move to the “manage statements, form fields, sliders, barriers, or pictures” page|
|Statements||Click on your Multiple Statements and past in your list of unformatted statements (one per line).||Have a list of your statements ready – with no numbers – just a plain list – ideally in note pad or unformatted in MS Word. Each statement must start on a new line. It is best to have no full stop or punctuation. Click on the Add Mulitple Statements and paste in your list.|
|Form fields||These are the questions you can ask|
|Your area of work/Your role
Community health services
|The questions include a label – the question. And a response type – could be small textbox or large textbox, radio buttons, multi choice, or dropdown lists. If Radio, multi-choice or list you need to edit choices –
Write in each choice one per line.
You need to decide if it is mandatory that the person gives a respond.
If you wish to make mandatory – avoid drop down lists.
|Q2||Your team/Local team
Kippax/Garforth – South & East CCG
Meanwood – North CCG
Pudsey – West CCG
|Q3||Time in organisation
Less than two years
Two to three years
Four to five years
Six to eight years
Nine years or more
|Sliders||[text for slider 1]
I rate my understanding of integrated health and social care and what it is trying to achieve in Leeds as…
[text for slider 2]
I rate my team’s collective understanding of integrated social care in Leeds as…
|If using sliders – you configure the question you ask here. The scale labels (such as clear to unclear are set in the previous stage described above).
Configuring a slider in this section will activate the slider function, otherwise POETQ will skip to Barriers (if activitiated) or the Q sort (default).
|Barriers||[list of 12 barriers/levers]
Different professional cultures
Different models of care
Line manager being from a different profession
Opportunity for interaction
Availability of resources
A factor not listed
Another factor not listed
|The system is set to ask participants to select at least one barrier and one lever to integrated working
Configuring a barrier in this section will activate the barrier function, otherwise POETQ will skip to the Q sort.
|Pictures||DO not use||Do not use|
|Save changes||Save changes to your study.|
|Activate this study||Clicking here will activate the study online|
|Invite List||Paste in emails or enter emails one at a time. If you are concerned about institutional spam filtures/firewalls safeguarding the inbox of your respondents, it is recommended you send out a link to the study using your enterprise email account (such as Outlook).|
Full list of 40 statements (if pasting into POETQ admin – use the list further below without numbers)
- Joint commissioning is about delivering more for less.
- Joint commissioning is about reducing duplication.
- Joint commissioning seems to be speed up referral
- Joint commissioning is about investing now to save in the future.
- Joint commissioning is all about delivering the same for less.
- Joint commissioning requires larger management structures.
- Commissioning jointly means fewer inappropriate referrals.
- Commissioning jointly should be about reducing pressure on acute services.
- Joint commissioning is reducing opportunity for cost-shunting and passing the buck.
- Joint commissioning helps us enhance our own organisational influence by allying ourselves with others.
- Joint commissioning is mostly about fulfilling government requirements to collaborate.
- Joint commissioning can feel like a battle of the models: A health approach verses a social care approach.
- Joint commissioning does little to address the amount of red tape and bureaucracy colleagues have to manage.
- Rather than something completely new, this joint commissioning just formalises an existing culture of collaboration and partnership.
- Joint commissioning preserves our marked differences in professional cultures.
- Commissioning jointly makes it clearer who can be held to account for actions.
- Commissioning jointly signals to others that we are in partnership.
- Joint commissioning enables better risk management.
- By commissioning with other colleagues you can share ideas, increase knowledge and be more creative in what you do.
- Where we are co-located, it benefits professional discussion through the development of informal relationships.
- Properly done, joint commissioning can deliver a quantum leap in how organisations work together.
- Commissioning jointly can lead to individual teams becoming more insular.
- Joint commissioning enables greater information sharing.
- Joint commissioning helps build the necessary trust between us.
- Joint commissioning facilitates the development of a new common language.
- Joint commissioning means delivering pretty much the same level and standard of service but organised in different way.
- Joint commissioning means that we better understand one another’s roles and duties.
- Only by commissioning jointly can we address the most complex social situations.
- Joint commissioning results in synergies, where we are greater than the sum of our parts.
- Commissioning jointly leads to better working conditions for colleagues and helps boost morale.
- Commissioning jointly is about delivering a seamless service for service users.
- At the end of the day, joint commissioning is all about realising improvements to real people’s lives.
- Joint commissioning is about delivering a system that promotes fairness inclusion and respect towards all sections of society.
- Joint commissioning is about users knowing what to do and where to seek help.
- Joint commissioning is about improving choice for users.
- Joint commissioning, has had a minimal impact on users.
- Joint commissioning changes the way service users can influence the services they receive.
- Joint commissioning is opening up opportunities for the private and third sectors.
- Joint commissioning reduces inequalities of access to services.
- Joint commissioning is about improved primary prevention and early intervention.
Full list of 40 statements – one per line (no numbers) ready to paste into POETQ admin
Joint commissioning is about delivering more for less.
Joint commissioning is about reducing duplication.
Joint commissioning seems to be speed up referral
Joint commissioning is about investing now to save in the future.
Joint commissioning is all about delivering the same for less.
Joint commissioning requires larger management structures.
Commissioning jointly means fewer inappropriate referrals.
Commissioning jointly should be about reducing pressure on acute services.
Joint commissioning is reducing opportunity for cost-shunting and passing the buck.
Joint commissioning helps us enhance our own organisational influence by allying ourselves with others.
Joint commissioning is mostly about fulfilling government requirements to collaborate.
Joint commissioning can feel like a battle of the models: A health approach verses a social care approach.
Joint commissioning does little to address the amount of red tape and bureaucracy colleagues have to manage.
Rather than something completely new, this joint commissioning just formalises an existing culture of collaboration and partnership.
Joint commissioning preserves our marked differences in professional cultures.
Commissioning jointly makes it clearer who can be held to account for actions.
Commissioning jointly signals to others that we are in partnership.
Joint commissioning enables better risk management.
By commissioning with other colleagues you can share ideas, increase knowledge and be more creative in what you do.
Where we are co-located, it benefits professional discussion through the development of informal relationships.
Properly done, joint commissioning can deliver a quantum leap in how organisations work together.
Commissioning jointly can lead to individual teams becoming more insular.
Joint commissioning enables greater information sharing.
Joint commissioning helps build the necessary trust between us.
Joint commissioning facilitates the development of a new common language.
Joint commissioning means delivering pretty much the same level and standard of service but organised in different way.
Joint commissioning means that we better understand one another’s roles and duties.
Only by commissioning jointly can we address the most complex social situations.
Joint commissioning results in synergies, where we are greater than the sum of our parts.
Commissioning jointly leads to better working conditions for colleagues and helps boost morale.
Commissioning jointly is about delivering a seamless service for service users.
At the end of the day, joint commissioning is all about realising improvements to real people’s lives.
Joint commissioning is about delivering a system that promotes fairness inclusion and respect towards all sections of society.
Joint commissioning is about users knowing what to do and where to seek help.
Joint commissioning is about improving choice for users.
Joint commissioning, has had a minimal impact on users.
Joint commissioning changes the way service users can influence the services they receive.
Joint commissioning is opening up opportunities for the private and third sectors.
Joint commissioning reduces inequalities of access to services.
Joint commissioning is about improved primary prevention and early intervention.
Any further questions about configuring your POETQ study – please contact Stephen Jeffares on
Frequently asked questions
1. I am currently testing my study – but now when I click on my study link it jumps to the Thank You page – what can I do?
You need to delete the POETQ cookie that has been placed on your browser. If you are using Firefox to configure your study – you can adjust settings so that POETQ is prevented from placing cookies on your site – http://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/delete-cookies-remove-info-websites-stored
2. Can I send email invites from the POETQ admin section?
In the current version no. This was built into an earlier beta version of the software but it did not cope well with spam filters. We suggest you sent out a study link to participants from your own email address or an administrator within the organisation from which you are collecting data.
3. Is there a limit to how many statements can be sorted?
We suggest you do not exceed 75.
4. What width can I make the grid?
Although we have used +6/-6 grids in previous work, we find +5/-5 and fewer displays best.
5. Why is there no back button?
We designed POETQ for single use. Respondents are able to pre-sort and refine statements as they go and there is no need to delay the process by offering a back button.
6. It suggests I can swap statements at the grid stage, but it won’t let me. Why so?
In the current version, the swap function works best on non-Internet Explorer browsers. If you test this and find it does not work well on a windows browser, we suggest removing the prompt offering the opportunity to swap statements.
7. Why do you suggest agree more/agree less rather than agree/disagree?
It is possible Q sorters could agree with all statements – we suggest you offer a condition of instruction that is on a relative scale.
8. How do I export data into PQmethod?
The admin section includes buttons to export the two files you require for PQmethod analysis – the statement file (.STA) and the data file (.DAT).
9. How do I import data into PQmethod?
See video here https://jeffar.es/2013/02/12/poetq-set-up/
10. Can I export data to Excel/SPSS?
Yes you can generate a csv spreadsheet file. We recommend to make use of this function as it offers a means to export.
11. Are my data backed up?
The data are backed up but there is always a risk – we strongly recommend you export data files (DAT and CSV) from your study on a daily basis during the data collection phase.
12. Can I ask more questions after the Q sort element?
In addition to the usual question about the strong preference statements you can ask one more open ended question – by default it is labelled comments –but you might want to ask for an email address, ask respondents to nominate missing statements or anything you like. If you want to ask more questions we suggest using Surveymonkey, or similar, in a way that is linked.
13. Is it the same link for everybody?
Yes – when somebody clicks on the link it generates a unique UID. If at any point during the sort they lose connection they should be able to re-join the study using the original invite link (if using the same machine) or if not – if they contact you, you should be able to generate a link for them front the check participants tab.
14. Does it work on phones/tablets?
You might find in some cases it does – but the drag function is poor and we would not recommend it.
15. Can I edit the help text?
16. Does it work in Arabic?
17. Who owns POETQ and who can use it?
POETQ was paid for and developed by researchers at the Health Service Management Centre (HSMC) University of Birmingham. It was designed to study partnership relationships within health and social care. It is not a fully commercial tool and priority is given to doctoral researchers and those studying policy.
18. Can I split the DAT file for separate analysis two groups?
For example –
“I have a total group of 80 respondents, 40 of whom are managers and 40 not managers. I need to analyse the data from these sub groups separately so I can see if they’re saying something different from each other. Is there a way I can divide the data set at source so I have two groups in my PoetQ data?”
Export two copies of the DAT file. Open the file in a text editor (like Notepad on PC or TextEdit on mac) if you look on the top line you will see the number 80. Change it to 40 and then cut off the bottom half. Modify the title to something new like manager and rename the file to manager.dat now create a new project called manager and paste in the new DAT file as normal.
You can do the same for none managers but obviously cutting out a different 40.