The Big Picture
Conducting a Q study is substantial undertaking — most like running an intensive focus group, not performing a simple survey. Preparation, deployment, and analysis typically take some weeks to accomplish, even with an automated system like Q-Assessor.
Hence we have settled on a one-month term as the most appropriate length of time for a subscription to use Q-Assessor. That duration is sufficient to do a complex study — in fact even several once one is familiar with the system and has planned the studies adequately. One month is also the minimum time necessary for most people.
Free Test Study
Any user who has signed up and logged into the Q-Assessor site can do one small-scale Q-Assessor study for free. All of Q-Assessor’s features are enabled for this study. It is only limited in the number of statements that can be added to the concourse (10), the number of post-sort questions (3), and the number of responses that can be collected (10). The point of this test study is to demonstrate Q-Assessor’s capabilities. If all you’re trying to do is a toy study, this should be sufficient.
To do a substantive Q study, you’ll need to secure a subscription. A link to request it is on a registered user’s Workspace page, and this leads to a simple form that inquires how many months you want, when you’d like to start, and what your address information is. The minimum subscription length is one month, and longer intervals allow for half-month increments: 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, etc.
This form then generates an invoice to use during payment. At this point, payment needs to be via bank check in US funds or a bank wire transfer. We are considering adding other payment options such as PayPal or credit cards. To date, however, the volume of subscriptions does not warrant the expense of contracting with those payment processors.
Given variable times required for different forms of payment, the subscription will actually begin at the point that payment comes through. Thus if you request a start date of tomorrow but your payment arrives a week after tomorrow, you will not “lose” a week; your full subscription period will begin at the later date. Since Q is not an impulse-driven activity, you should have no problem with any minor delay of this sort. Besides, you should spend any interval between subscription request and start to refine your study design and polish your understanding of Q-Assessor’s mechanisms.
Investigators sometimes wish to bring collaborators into a study. Once the investigator has secured a subscription, we will build a group around the investigator into which we then add the other members. The investigator can create studies within that group, while all members can configure it and analyze collected data.
Current pricing is $500 USD per month per investigator.
Why would you choose to spend this when there are “free” alternatives out there? The best answer is for you to try them and compare:
- Attachment Q-Sorter
- QPress — though appears non-operational
- Q-Sorter — 404s now
- Q-sort touch — 404s now
- QSortware — “under development”
- RAP II
- WebQ (or the original version of WebQ)
- The WebQSort Project — non-operational
Some of these are online systems, while others are desktop applications. The functionality offered varies considerably as does the effort required to set up and use them.
You won’t know the value proposition of any of the alternatives until you try them and see — just as you should also try Q-Assessor. Consider the value of your time, the extent of your IT proficiency and resources, and then choose accordingly. If you find one of these “free” systems best meets your needs, if you enjoy setting up servers, writing config files, and managing all the various installation and operational steps manually, then your project isn’t the sort for which Q-Assessor was designed.
But if your study needs a sophisticated, reliable, comprehensive, turn-key, easy-to-use, Internet-based solution that delivers prompt results, then we’re confident that Q-Assessor is worth the price.
Please note that we do not offer any “student rate” subscriptions since we do not offer any “student level functionality.” Many subscribers are in fact students — who know the value of their time and the state of their information technology capabilities. If you have more time and IT expertise than you do budget, then Q-Assessor isn’t really intended for your needs.
We offer four payment mechanisms for subscribers. You select one of them when you request a subscription. We list them here in order of our preference:
- Bank check drawn on U.S. funds: This is our preferred payment method, since this imposes no fees on you or us. Particularly for subscribers in the U.S., this is the way you should pay. It takes a few days for the post to deliver, but Q is never a spur of the moment undertaking, so that time should pose no issue. Besides, a subscriber has plenty to do planning for her study and experimenting with Q-Assessor’s feature while waiting for the check to arrive.
- Paymode-X: This is a payment processor used by many larger institutions like universities and corporations. It imposes no fees on us either, so we welcome this form of payment. If your institution is picking up your subscription cost, they likely will insist on this mechanism. The information we provide on the invoice is sufficient for your finance people to make the payment to us via Paymode-X.
- Bank wire transfer: This electronic form of payment works well for international subscriptions (i.e., subscriptions from outside the U.S.), though it imposes fees at both ends. Fortunately these fees are fixed, not proportional to the amount of the invoice, but they are also unpredictable.
- PayPal: This payment processor has a global reach and allows subscribers to pay via their PayPal accounts, if they have one, or via credit cards, if they don’t. Due to the low volume of subscriptions that want to pay this way, we have not implemented any automated PayPal functions like a “Pay With PayPal” button. Instead, if you want to pay this way, we will send you an invoice via PayPal that has links by which you can then log into PayPal and send the payment. This works well, though PayPal extracts a usurious percentage rate for “service fees” particularly if there is a currency exchange. If you are in a hurry and are unwilling or unable to pay via one of the above alternatives, then we will work with you to use PayPal.
Created: August 04, 2010 10:58
Last updated: January 07, 2017 11:07