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  • 00:09

    [An Introduction to Qualitative Data Analysis]

  • 00:11

    PROFESSOR ERIC JENSEN: My name is Eric Jensen,I'm an Sociology Professor at the University of Warwick. [Dr.Eric Jensen, Sociology Professor]

  • 00:15

    DR. CHARLES LAURIE: And I'm Charles Laurie, Directorof Research at Verisk Maplecroft. [Dr. CharlesLaurie, Director of Research]

  • 00:19

    PROFESSOR ERIC JENSEN: This videois about how to analyze qualitative data.So qualitative data analysis is the processof identifying patterns in written information,audio recordings, video, or images.There are no universally acceptedrules for this process that define exactly, stepby step, what you must do.But you should be thorough and detailed in your approach.

  • 00:41

    PROFESSOR ERIC JENSEN [continued]: There are different fully valid pathwaysto arrive at a good understanding of your datathrough qualitative analysis.[What is qualitative analysis?]

  • 00:52

    DR. CHARLES LAURIE: Qualitative researchis open ended by nature and relies on your judgementto find patterns through the haze of wordsin your audio recordings or transcripts.While such judgements can be personal and subjective,techniques specified in this segmentcan help you ensure that your analysis is systematic.

  • 01:10

    PROFESSOR ERIC JENSEN: Qualitative analysisis not about writing an opinion on a research topicor selecting a couple of quotes thatsupport an argument you already decided you wanted to make.You must develop a clear analytical route from your datato specific patterns.And ultimately, to a written reportcontaining representative examples from your datathat show these patterns.

  • 01:32

    PROFESSOR ERIC JENSEN [continued]: [Finding Qualitative Data]

  • 01:36

    DR. CHARLES LAURIE: Your first step in qualitative analysisis to take stock of the data and contextual informationavailable to you.Written qualitative data can be anythingfrom interview transcripts to field notesor a broad range of other written materials,including diaries and even meeting notes.Whatever form your data take, your need to organize them

  • 01:56

    DR. CHARLES LAURIE [continued]: to make sense of what you have.

  • 01:57

    PROFESSOR ERIC JENSEN: When you think of bulleted of data,your initial decision might be interview recordingsand transcripts.However, you might be surprised at how muchadditional information you can collect alongthe way as your research project develops.You can find yourself with information such as diaries,photographs, and a range of personal, business,or government documents.

  • 02:19

    PROFESSOR ERIC JENSEN [continued]: Such unplanned data is part of the open ended natureof qualitative research.Just be sure to document how you gathered any new datasources that you might draw upon in your analysis.

  • 02:29

    DR. CHARLES LAURIE: At this point,as you begin your positive data analysisby taking stock of your information,its worth distinguishing between background informationyou use to provide context and data that you systematicallyscrutinized through the data analysis process.Data are comprised of pieces of informationyou have to find in your Methods section

  • 02:51

    DR. CHARLES LAURIE [continued]: as the focus of your research.Your results will be based on these data.

  • 02:55

    PROFESSOR ERIC JENSEN: By contrast,background information can help you understand the dataand provide context for that data.For example, miscellaneous historical informationor notes you come across won't necessarilybe analyzed systematically.However, they still can play a roleby providing insights into the broaderpicture of how your participants' lives areconstructed.

  • 03:17

    PROFESSOR ERIC JENSEN [continued]: [Context and Data]

  • 03:20

    DR. CHARLES LAURIE: Once you have separated out your datafrom background information, you'reready to begin an analysis of these data.

  • 03:27

    PROFESSOR ERIC JENSEN: With a qualitative project,your analysis begins in the Methods section.Here, you explain who you collected data from and whyand what circumstances and over what period of time.This context orients your analysisand establishes the boundaries of the kinds of knowledgeclaims that you can make.

  • 03:46

    DR. CHARLES LAURIE: Your data onlyholds meaning when it can be situatedwithin the context of its collection.For example, if you conducted an interviewwith an elderly person in a care home,in order to understand perceptions of aging,you would need to take account of the location in whichthe interview was conducted.That is, within the walls of the homewhere the participant is cared for by the staff.

  • 04:09

    DR. CHARLES LAURIE [continued]: If the participant reported that she felt wellcared for by the staff, was this answerinfluenced by the environment in which it was collected,such as the possible presence of staff.Participants may have felt pressureto give certain answers or felt guilty about givingnegative feedback while in the setting.Or may have felt none of these thingsand given completely frank interviews.

  • 04:31

    PROFESSOR ERIC JENSEN: Location is just the tip of the icebergwhen it comes to the role of contextin qualitative research.Because gathering data for qualitative researchrelies so heavily on the research or subjectivity,the analysis often needs to addressthe way in which the researcher mayhave influenced the results.Indeed, there is an extensive academic literature

  • 04:51

    PROFESSOR ERIC JENSEN [continued]: on how the qualities of the researcher, herself or himself,can influence the results that emerge.[Beginning Data Analysis]

  • 05:03

    DR. CHARLES LAURIE: Now that you have accountedfor contextual influences affecting your data,you can begin your focused analysisof the content of your data.There are many possible ways to do this.We advocate a wider use approach we're calling pattern analysis.In this process, you take the words and imagesand any other features you think are salient comprising

  • 05:25

    DR. CHARLES LAURIE [continued]: your data and categorize them usingcodes, which are specific categories for the groupingof your data that apply across a numberof individual quotations.The word code can be a confusing piece of qualitative researchjargon because code has many other meanings.For example, in the context of computers.

  • 05:45

    DR. CHARLES LAURIE [continued]: In social research, coding simplymeans making and applying categories to your data.You can use your code to develop comparisons and connectyour data to relevant theoretical conceptsyou've located in your literature review.Taken together, these codes, comparisons, and conceptshelp you build explanations that address your research

  • 06:07

    DR. CHARLES LAURIE [continued]: questions.Therefore, they will help you build your analysisfrom data to codes to comparisons to conceptsand finally, to explanations.[Coding the Data]

  • 06:22

    PROFESSOR ERIC JENSEN: It's worthgoing into more depth on the process of codingbecause it's fundamental to qualitative analysis.After refreshing your memory by re-reading your fieldnotes, interview, or focus group notes,you begin reading transcripts and other written data,listening to the audio, or viewing the video data.Your aim is to establish a firm grounding in your data

  • 06:44

    PROFESSOR ERIC JENSEN [continued]: by understanding what your participants are saying and whybefore you start constructing explanationsabout what's going on.

  • 06:52

    DR. CHARLES LAURIE: You begin by setting upa series of initial code categories of the issuesyou are expecting to see.This, again, highlights the valueof beginning your analysis or at leasta careful reading of your data early onso your thinking can be well to developed by a stage.

  • 07:08

    PROFESSOR ERIC JENSEN: After coding your first transcriptand adapting the codes as needed in this first pass,you then move on to the next transcriptand continue the process of applying codesand tell your transcripts have all the coded.Once you've finished a complete first pass,you would then start again, doing one pass after anotheruntil you're certain that you've captured as much depth as

  • 07:30

    PROFESSOR ERIC JENSEN [continued]: possible for all your transcriptsor until you run out of time.

  • 07:34

    DR. CHARLES LAURIE: Keep noting down the analytical thoughtsthat occur to you during the coding process,however droll or incomplete the thoughts may seem.Are you finding interesting connections.Have the accounts inspired you to do some additional readings.Are you seeing connections between the data and theoryyou've been reading about.

  • 07:53

    PROFESSOR ERIC JENSEN: It's essential to recordthese thoughts as you go because they're often fleetingand can be easily forgotten.Also, by recording these memos as they'recalled within your positive data analysis software,they will all be in one place and you can electronicallyconnect them to the piece of datathat sparked the thought within the software.You'll be grateful for the easy access to your memos

  • 08:15

    PROFESSOR ERIC JENSEN [continued]: when you get to your writing up phase later on.[Theory, Concepts, and Data Analysis]

  • 08:22

    DR. CHARLES LAURIE: During the coding process,think about how you can connect your findingsto theoretical concepts.Go back to concepts in your research questionand literature review and look for other related theoreticalconcepts that you could apply to see if they fit with your data.If existing concepts don't help explain your data,then you may need to develop new or adjusted concepts

  • 08:45

    DR. CHARLES LAURIE [continued]: to explain your findings.

  • 08:46

    PROFESSOR ERIC JENSEN: For instance,imagine the qualitative research as addressing a topic relatingto social class.She might start with the idea or conceptthat class identities are passed on from one generationto the next because the upper class oppresses the poorerclass.This is the concept of oppression.If her data shows that the poorer class takes pride

  • 09:08

    PROFESSOR ERIC JENSEN [continued]: in its identity and values, then shecan conclude the concept of oppressionis insufficient to explain the data that she has collected.In this case, a new explanation mightrequire using a different analytical concept,such as the idea of a working class subculture.In this way, qualitative analysismust draw upon, modify, or create theoretical concepts

  • 09:31

    PROFESSOR ERIC JENSEN [continued]: that are useful in developing explanationsthat may be applicable beyond the immediate contextof the project.

  • 09:38

    DR. CHARLES LAURIE: One of the many advantages of codingis that the process allows you to closely engagewith the actual words and ideas of your participants.This means that as you code, you'llbe able to use data extracts to develop your emerging analysis.

  • 09:53

    PROFESSOR ERIC JENSEN: Never cherry pick your data extractsbased on what fits your preexistingassumptions about a topic.That's all too easy to do.But good quality of research faces upto the uncertainties, contradictions,or unexpected patterns of the data,rather than pretending that results are justsimple and clear.

  • 10:12

    DR. CHARLES LAURIE: For instance,imagine a comparative analysis of men's and women'sattitudes about marriage based on semi-structured interviews.Perhaps the research expects that menwould display more commitment phobia while women willbe more eager to tie the knot.But the results of the analysis indicatethat women and men who were interviewedwere both equally commitment phobic.

  • 10:34

    DR. CHARLES LAURIE [continued]: Rather than trying to make the data fit the theoryby executing interviews with commitment phobic womenfrom the analysis, the best strategyhere would be to seek explanationsfrom the unexpected findings.Also, the researcher might seek to clarify the analysisby conducting follow up interviewsor by reading up on the literature about gender rolesto find existing explanations that the study might support

  • 10:57

    DR. CHARLES LAURIE [continued]: or indeed, challenge.[Computer Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Software (CAQDAS)

  • 11:03

    PROFESSOR ERIC JENSEN: There are several qualitative analysissoftware packages sometimes referredto as Computer Assisted Qualitative Data AnalysisSoftware, or CAQDAS for short.These products can help you get the most outof your raw qualitative data.They kind of operate like Microsoft Worddoes for writing essays.

  • 11:23

    DR. CHARLES LAURIE: Some qualitative researchershave criticized such software for alienating researchersfrom their data and sometimes for causing an over emphasison coding to the exclusion of other aspectsof qualitative analysis.However, the predominant opinion in methodological literatureindicates that minor limitations stemming

  • 11:44

    DR. CHARLES LAURIE [continued]: from qualitative analysis softwareare more than adequate by increases in productivity,reliability, consistency, and transparency.

  • 11:53

    PROFESSOR ERIC JENSEN: Once you'vecompleted your coding passes and ended upwith a set of patterns of you've identified within your data,you will have combined or adjusted codes along the wayand created notes that document any initial ideas you had.

  • 12:06

    DR. CHARLES LAURIE: You may also have made comparisonsbetween perspectives within each sample or indeed,between samples, to get a clearersense of the range of views emerging from your data.In addition, you should have started making connectionsto key ideas from your literature review, especiallytheoretical concepts that can help you account for your data.

  • 12:27

    DR. CHARLES LAURIE [continued]: These are the first crucial stepsin developing a systematic analysis of your data.However, there are still several more stepsto take in your qualitative analysisto ensure that it's as robust and insightful as possible.[Writing Up the Analysis]

  • 12:44

    PROFESSOR ERIC JENSEN: While qualitative data analysissoftware is an excellent tool to help you manage and make senseof your data, your analysis extends into the writingup process.Moving your analysis code by code into your researchreport document as an essential step, which can alsoresult in new insights.Laying out your ideas on the page,thinking them through as you write each paragraph,

  • 13:05

    PROFESSOR ERIC JENSEN [continued]: and then repeatedly reviewing and rethinkingwhat you've written to deepen your analysisand sharpen your claims is the keyto developing a high quality qualitative data analysisreport.[Conclusion: Ensuring Quality in Qualitative Data Analysis]

  • 13:21

    DR. CHARLES LAURIE: Let's now thinkabout quality in your qualitative analysis.Many factors can intervene to underminethe quality of your analysis.First, let's consider your role as the decision makerabout how your data will be collected and analyzed.You're likely to have some ideas about whatyou expect to find from your researchbefore you start your project.

  • 13:43

    DR. CHARLES LAURIE [continued]: You need to practice letting go of those ideasand be completely open to where your data will take you.While you work be able to completely achieve this goal,striving to keep an open mind is valuable in itself.

  • 13:55

    PROFESSOR ERIC JENSEN: You can help ensurethe quality of your analysis by employing a few strategies.First, make sure that you transcribe and readyour positive data during the data collection processto put you in a strong position to rememberrelevant contextual details that you add to your field notes.Doing this can also help you by creating a feedback loop so

  • 14:18

    PROFESSOR ERIC JENSEN [continued]: that your ongoing analysis feeds back into your qualitative datacollection in the form of revised or new interviewor focus group questions.Also, make sure you read up on methodologyin your particular sub-field.For example, if you're using blogs as your data,delve into articles or books on methodologyand web-based research to ensure you're fulfilling the quality

  • 14:39

    PROFESSOR ERIC JENSEN [continued]: expectations in this domain.Don't try to tie up every loose endor smooth over every rough patch in your qualitative analysis.With qualitative analysis, you'reallowing for diversity in people's perspectivesand experiences.Also, you don't have to account for every scrap of datathat you've collected.At some point, you'll have to make

  • 14:60

    PROFESSOR ERIC JENSEN [continued]: a judgment about which aspects of your findingsare most relevant to addressing your research question.And also, don't try to do everything.Don't be afraid to make the judgement that somethingis beyond the scope of your analysis.Just as you must narrow the scope of your research projectearly in your project in order to keep it nice and focused,you also need to keep the scope tightly focused

  • 15:23

    PROFESSOR ERIC JENSEN [continued]: within your qualitative analysis.

  • 15:25

    DR. CHARLES LAURIE: There is a growing bodyof methodological literature advocating quality assurancetechniques to help insure qualityin your qualitative analysis.Each qualitative research is differentand every instance of generating qualitative datawill develop in different ways due to the dynamicsbetween the researcher, the participants, the research

  • 15:46

    DR. CHARLES LAURIE [continued]: questions, and the situation in which the data is gathered.Therefore, instead of validity and reliability,techniques such as thick description, transparency,and procedural clarity, deviant case analysis, and reflexivitywill raise the quality of your analysis.

Video Info

Publisher: SAGE Publications Ltd

Publication Year: 2017

Video Type:Tutorial

Methods: Qualitative data analysis, Coding

Keywords: practices, strategies, and tools

Segment Info

Segment Num.: 1

Persons Discussed:

Events Discussed:



Dr. Eric Jensen, Professor of Sociology at the University of Warwick, and Dr. Charles Laurie, Director of Research at Verisk Maplecroft, discuss qualitative data analysis and how to use qualitative data analysis software. Qualitative research is open ended and relies partly on personal judgement. Jensen and Laurie discuss data collection, coding the data, and writing up the analysis.

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An Introduction to Qualitative Data Analysis

Dr. Eric Jensen, Professor of Sociology at the University of Warwick, and Dr. Charles Laurie, Director of Research at Verisk Maplecroft, discuss qualitative data analysis and how to use qualitative data analysis software. Qualitative research is open ended and relies partly on personal judgement. Jensen and Laurie discuss data collection, coding the data, and writing up the analysis.

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