Amanda Wolf

Senior Lecturer School of Government


Teaching in 2017

Dr Amanda Wolf profile picture


  • AB, Philosophy (Boston College), 1979
  • MPM (University of Maryland), 1990
  • PhD (University of Maryland), 1995.

Research interests

  • Methodologies for policy research and analysis;
  • Intersubjective wellbeing;
  • Policy experimentation;
  • Single-case studies;
  • Q Methodology.


One of the primary challenges facing policy makers is to work effectively with diverse information, from the individual to the aggregate, drawing lessons from one time and place for application in another. Every policy challenge is unique, as is every person, family, event. Accordingly, Amanda brings an interdisciplinary scholarly disposition to investigations of philosophical, environmental, and broader social topics with a common emphasis on the concepts and reasoning entailed in learning from a specific situation. Amanda is an expert in Q methodology, an approach developed by the British physicist/psychologist William Stephenson (1902-1989), which is essentially a tool for the study of subjective communicability. She edited the Q methodology journal, Operant Subjectivity: The International Journal of Q Methodology, from 2005 to 2013. Prior to arriving in New Zealand in 1994, Amanda was a small business owner, a food policy analyst at the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington DC, and a negotiation researcher at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, outside Vienna, Austria. She has spent time as a visiting researcher at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and Jacobs University, Bremen.


Peer-reviewed journal articles

  • Wolf, A. (online first 14 July 2015). Between-case dialogue: Public engagement in the second-person voice. Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences. 10.1007/s13412-015-0296-y
  • Wolf, A. (2013). Wellbeing for public policy: Roles for Q methodology. Operant Subjectivity: The International Journal of Q Methodology, 36, 203–226.
  • Eppel, E. & Wolf, A. (2012). Implementing Better Public Services: Policy Quarterly 8 (3), 41–48.
  • Wolf, A. (with Good, J. M. M., Brown, S. R., Cuppen, E. H. W. J., Ockwell, D., & Watts, S.). (2011). Q methodology and its applications: Reflections on theory. Operant Subjectivity: The International Journal of Q Methodology 35, 48–71.
  • Wolf, A. (2010). Subjectivity in Q methodology. Journal of Human Subjectivity 8 (2), 55–72.
  • Wolf, A. (2010). Many minds, common sense and genetically modified food: A role for Q methodology. East Asian Science Technology and Society: an International Journal. DOI: 10.1007/s12280-00-9142-1, (available online 29 July).
  • Wolf, A. (2010). Orientations to academic workloads at department level. Educational Management, Administration and Leadership, 38 (2), 246-262.
  • Wolf, A. (2009). Subjectivity, the researcher and the researched. Operant Subjectivity: The International Journal of Q Methodology 32, 6-28, (Special Issue, Guest Editor, Paul Stenner).

Scholarly books

  • Boston, J., Callister, P. & Wolf, A. (2006). The policy implications of diversity. Wellington: Institute of Policy Studies.
  • Wolf, A. (1997). Quotas in international environmental agreements. London: Earthscan.

Book chapters

  • Eppel, E., Turner, D., & Wolf A. (2011). Complex policy implementation: The role of experimentation and learning. In B. Ryan & D. Gill (Eds.), Future State: Directions for public management in New Zealand (pp. 182-212). Wellington: Victoria University Press.
  • Wolf, A. (2010). Subjektivitet i Q-metodologi (Subjectivity in Q methodology). In A. A. Thorsen & E. Allgood (Eds.) Q-metodologi – en velegnet måte å utforske subjektivitet, (pp 21-35), Trondheim (Norway): Tapir Akademisk Forlag.
  • Wolf, A., Turner, D., & Toms, K. (2009). Emerging ethical perspectives in evaluation. In D. Mertens & P. Ginsberg (Eds.) Handbook of social research ethics, (pp 170-183), Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Published proceedings

  • Wolf, A. (2013). Readiness and persuasion in transformative learning for sustainable responses to climate change. Proceedings: Transformation in a Changing Climate, pp. 227– 236. Olso, University of Oslo, Trykket, 19–21 June. ISBN: 978-82-570-2001-9
  • Lawrence, J., Wolf, A., & Reisinger, A. (2013). Institutional transformation in a devolved governance system:  Possibilities and limits. Proceedings: Transformation in a Changing Climate, pp. 62– 71. Olso, University of Oslo, Trykket, 19–21 June. ISBN: 978-82-570-2001-9
  • Eppel, E. A. & Wolf, A. M. (2012). Supporting entrepreneurship through risk management: Two New Zealand cases, Contradictions in Public Management: Managing in volatile times, International Research Society for Public Management, XVI Conference, Rome: 11–13 April.
  • Wolf A. (2011). Weaving the discussion threads together. In R. Nottage (Ed.), Degrees of possibility: Igniting social knowledge around climate change, (pp.51–52). Wellington: New Zealand Climate Change Centre.

Recent conference papers

  • Middleton, L., Cumming, J., & Wolf, A. (2016). Evidence for the ‘dimmer switch’: Results from a realist evaluation of a knowledge transfer policy. Paper presented at the 2nd International Conference on Realist Evaluation and Synthesis: Advancing Principles, Strengthening Practice. London, 2–6 October.
  • Peace, R., & Wolf, A. (2016) Do we need another paradigm?  Paper presented at the Aotearoa New Zealand Evaluation Associate Conference, Next Generation Evaluation: Shaping better futures in Aotearoa New Zealand. Wellington, 18-20 July.
  • Wolf, A., Peace, R., & Brown, S. (2015). Q methodology and the varieties of abductive thinking. Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Scientific Study of Subjectivity, Ancona, 15–17 September.
  • Wood. A., Tenbensel. T., & Wolf, A. (2015).  Using Q methodology to explore stakeholders’ perspectives on regulatory approaches for front of pack food labelling. International Conference on Public Policy, Milan, 1 – 4 July.
  • Lawrence, J., Wolf, A., & Reisinger, A. (2015). Relationship between institutional frameworks and adaptation practice. European Climate Change Adaptation Conference,Copenhagen, 12–14 May.
  • Wolf, A. (2014). Developing responsible researcher–leaders: The contribution of experience in a professional doctorate programme. 6th Developing Leadership Capacity Conference: The New Romantics of Responsible Leadership, Lancaster, 7–9 July.
  • Wolf, A. (2014). Between-case dialogue. Transforming Public Engagement on Controversial Science & Technology. International Symposium, The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand 17–18 February.
  • Wolf, A. (2013). Theoretical common ground: Q methodology and case study. Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Scientific Study of Subjectivity, Amsterdam, 5–7 September
  • Wolf, A. (2013). Methodological challenges in a ‘readiness to change’ Q study. Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Scientific Study of Subjectivity, Amsterdam, 5–7 September

Invited presentations

  • Wolf, A. (2015). Panellist, Public sector leadership at the intersections: Preparing students to lead in a shared-power, multi-sector world: Annual Conference, Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA), New York City, 16 October
  • Wolf, A. (2013). Intersubjective wellbeing: Thoughts on concepts and measures for policy. Invited seminar, Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health, Glasgow Caledonian University, 2 Sept.
  • Wolf. A. (2013). Plenary roundtable speaker: Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Scientific Study of Subjectivity, Amsterdam, 5 September (with four others).
  • Wolf, A, (2010). Reframing persuasion in public policy: The contribution of Q methodology. Invited presentation on the panel, Reintroducing Q Methodology, International Society of Political Psychology, San Francisco, 7–10 July.
  • Peace, R. & Wolf, A. (2009). Social science methodology: An overview from the BRCSS network, Invited plenary presentation, BRCSS Conference: Social Sciences—A Celebration, Wellington, 10–12 June.
  • Wolf, A. (2009). Q methodology and subjectivity: Invited presentation, University of Stavanger, Norway, 13 May.
  • Wolf, A. (2006). Quotas and burden-sharing in multilateral environmental agreements, Invited keynote, International Symposium: Legal Principles and Post-2012 Climate Regime, Waseda University, Tokyo, 17 December.

Written cases with instructional material

  • Wolf, A. (forthcoming, Dec 2016). From Q-methodology findings to policy implications: Ten-year-old girls' food-related identities in the context of a healthy-eating social-marketing campaign. SAGE Research Methods Cases in Health [online]. London: Sage
  • Wolf, Amanda (2014). The interview in Q methodology: Readiness to adopt sustainable responses to climate change.  SAGE Research Methods Cases [online]. London: Sage.  DOI:
  • Wolf, A. (2005). The New Zealand Sign Language Bill, Australia and New Zealand School of Government Case Program, 2005–28.1.