Qualitative research involves collecting non-numerical data to understand the “what”, “how”, or “why” of a social phenomenon, often from the perspectives of individuals directly impacted by the phenomenon understand. Due to the nature of qualitative research, researchers often are tasked with synthesizing and analyzing large amounts of textual data. This blog post will provide you with helpful tips and tools for managing and analyzing qualitative data from the data collection phase through data analysis and writing up results.
Sources of data for qualitative studies include observations, documents, interviews, and audiovisual materials. An important consideration during the data collection phase is how you will capture the data and prepare it for analysis. Because qualitative data is typically collected by talking to people, a common way to capture the data is to audio or video record data collection sessions with participants. This can be done by using a videoconferencing software, or a tape recorder. After completing the audio or video recording, the next step will be to decide how you will transcribe the recordings to prepare them to be analyzed. If you are not able to hire a transcription company to convert your recordings into transcripts, consider using one of the following tools:
Now that your data is transcribed you should review the transcripts before beginning to analyze the data. Taking the time to clean your transcripts will save you from having to go back to review recordings during the analysis process. In this step you want to ensure that the transcripts are as reflective of the recordings as possible. Look out for errors in the transcript and correct them before uploading the transcripts to a qualitative analysis software.
Now that you have thoroughly reviewed your transcript for accuracy, you are ready to analyze the data! Qualitative data analysis involves breaking the data into codes in order to develop themes. Computer-assisted qualitative data analysis software (CAQDAS) can be a helpful tool to organize, manage, and analyze your data. Refer to our blog post on CAQDAS to help you determine which software program is best for you.
For more tips on managing and analyzing qualitative data, check out our webinar: Confidently Present your Qualitative Results Chapter
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