This book tackles the challenges of how to make sense of qualitative data. It offers students and researchers a hands-on guide to the practicalities of coding, comparing data, and using computer-assisted qualitative data analysis. Lastly, Gibbs shows you how to bring it all together, so you can see the steps of qualitative analysis, understand the central place of coding, ensure analytic quality and write effectively to present your results.

Data Preparation


After reading this chapter, you should:

  • know that most analysts work with textual data, usually neatly transcribed and typed;
  • see that the task of transcription is time consuming and must be done carefully and with pre-planning as it involves a change of medium and thus inevitably a degree of interpretation; and
  • be aware of the decisions to be made about the process and level of transcription, naming conventions, anonymization and formatting.


Most qualitative researchers transcribe their interview recordings, observations and field notes to produce a neat, typed copy. They do this because they find it much easier to work with textual transcriptions of their recordings. Now that most recordings are digital there is very good software to play them, but even so, it is usually ...

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