In this chapter we shall look at some of the problems involved and techniques used in analyzing unstructured data. This kind of data is central to qualitative research. Indeed, ‘qualitative data’ and ‘unstructured data’ are often treated as synonyms, although unstructured data are also used outside qualitative research (Chapter 7 outlines some of the ways in which survey researchers handle such data). We shall concentrate here on the strategies used by qualitative researchers, but this does not imply any sharp distinction between quantitative and qualitative forms of analysis.
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