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Q is positive or negative depending on if heat is added or removed from the reaction. If heat is added to the system that you are finding the internal energy for then it will be positive, if it is removed, Q will be negative.
Another way to think about it is in terms of exothermic and endothermic reactions. If the reaction is exothermic and is releasing heat, then the q will be negative. If the reaction is endothermic and absorbing energy, the q will be positive.
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