R package to analyse Q methodology data

View the Project on GitHub aiorazabala/qmethod


Contributions to developing the package are most welcome. Great to have you here. qmethod was created by Aiora Zabala, with contributions by Max Held and Frans Hermans. Some friendly suggestions for contributing:

Learn More & Join the Conversation

Communication on developing this package happens right here on our GitHub issues and by email. If you have any suggestion, you can raise it here as a new issue, send us an email, or both – that way, we can keep everyone in the loop and have a public record. If you can, browse the existing issues first to avoid duplication.

To learn more about the current state of development:

Beta-test New Features

qmethod is under development, and we’re keen to have more beta-test new features. Here](./Development) is how.

Add New Features

There’s so much more to do, and we’re excited for new additions. We’re roughly following the GitHub Flow development model:

  1. Read and log issues, so that we know what everyone is up to and interested in.
    • Create an issue before you start to work on anything so we can avoid duplicate efforts.
    • Assign backlog milestone if it’s not happening anytime soon.
    • Assign oneself as an assignee if one is actively working on it (so as to avoid duplicate efforts).
  2. Collaborators: Create forks, such that other collaborators can work (and mess up) in their own sandbox.
    • Remember to pull in upstream changes from aiorazabala/qmethod/master frequently, so as to stay up to date and minimize merge conflicts (here’s how).
  3. Create “feature-branches”
    • Create a branch off of (forked) masters for some feature to be added.
    • If you can, keep feature-branches focused on relatively few, well, features, and keep them separate from bugfixes.
    • Creating “feature-branches” max seem cumbersome, but it pays off with transparent pull requests (see below).
  4. Put up a pull-request (here’s how)
    • create the feature-branch early, and name it with the prefix WIP (for work-in-progress) so that other people can provide early feedback and know what’s being worked on.
    • Remove the WIP-prefix once the work is done. At this stage, a feature should be fully documented and tested (passing R CMD check on all platforms). Notice that Travis CI included here on GitHub only tests on Linux machines; @maxheld83 can test on OS X and win-builder on Windows, if you do not have these platforms yourself.
    • @aiorazabala as the creator of qmethod will then review the changes and accept the pull request if possible. By accepting, the pull request is then merged into @aiorazabala’s master
  5. Shipping: Periodically, whenever significant work has been done, @aiorazabala drafts a release (as per #121) from master, essentially just marking some point in the history of the package as x.x.x, and sends it off to CRAN.


Testing is an important part of quality software development, especially for scientific software, where users rely on the accuracy and reproducibility of results.

Most essentially, any changes should pass the tests for submitting packages to CRAN. This involves running the following in your command line: R CMD check --as-cran qmethod_1.4.0.tar.gz and running the package through WinBuilder, or either R-devel CMD check --as-cran qmethod_1.4.0.tar.gz …and getting no errors (or solving whatever may arise). If in the CRAN package checks for qmethod, your changes induce any change in the ‘OK’ Status, the maintainer(s) will poke you to fix it.

To learn more about testing, consider Hadley Wickham’s testthat package (which is what we’re using here) and his book chapter on testing.

It is advised that new functions and changes come with appropriate tests:

In addition to such tests for new functions, missing tests for old functions [would also be very welcome].

Help pages

We give a lot of importance to the usability of the package. Whether you’ve developed a fantastic function won’t matter, if it is not easy to use. For this, we believe that good documentation is essential. Please make sure that all new functions are well documented in the help pages. Some general points to observe when writing the help:


If you’re unfamiliar with Git(Hub), it’s probably worth spending some time learning these tools and conventions first.

Here are some great places to start: