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Data Analysis. Prepared by Jane M. Gangi , Ph.D. February 17, 2011. Please Note. We will revisit data analysis and Bogdan and Biklen’s chapter 5 on March 31 in connection with grounded theory. Wheat Field with Crows, Van Gogh, July 1990. LeCompte (2000):

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Data Analysis

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Data analysis

Data Analysis

Prepared by Jane M. Gangi, Ph.D.

February 17, 2011

Please note

Please Note

We will revisit data analysis and Bogdan and Biklen’s chapter 5 on March 31 in connection with grounded theory.

Wheat field with crows van gogh july 1990

Wheat Field with Crows, Van Gogh, July 1990

LeCompte (2000):

“Thinking of analysis as assembling a jigsaw puzzle is helpful. Jigsaw puzzles cut up a whole picture into fragments. Van Gogh’s painting, “Crows Over a Wheatfield,” has a golden wheatfield at the bottom, above which is sky, ranging from light blue near the wheatfield to nearly black at the top. Stylized crows fly through the darkening sky. To assemble a jigsaw puzzle of this painting, people might:

-Put all the similar pieces (all the edges, or the blue sky pieces, or those that might be parts of the wheatfield) in piles, then

-assemble the sky chunks, the wheatfield chunks, and the outside borders, and finally,

-Identify the linking pieces so that the big chunks can be tied together into a coherent facsimile of the painting”(p. 147)

Data analysis from the point of view of a case study researcher

Data Analysis from the Point of View of a Case Study Researcher

Stake (1995):

“The search for meaning often is a search for patterns, for consistency within certain conditions, which we call ‘correspondence’….For…important episodes or passages of text, we must take more time, looking them over again and again, reflecting, triangulating, being skeptical about first impressions and simple meanings. For the evidence most critical to our assertions, we isolate those repetitions and those correspondence tables most pertinent, challenging ourselves as to the adequacy of these data for that assertion” (p. 78, emphases added)

Data analysis from the point of view of grounded theory researchers

Data Analysis from the Point of View of Grounded Theory Researchers

Corbin and Strauss (2008):

  • Analysis is an art and a science.

  • Analysis is an interpretive act.

  • More than one story can be created from data.

  • Concepts form the basis of analysis.

  • There are different levels of analysis.

  • Analysis can have different aims.

  • Delineating context is an important aspect of analysis.

  • Analysis is a process.

  • Analysis begins with the collection of the first pieces of data.

  • A researcher can do microanalysis or more general analysis as the analytic situation demands. [emphasis in the original; p. 46]

Data analysis

Data Analysis from an Ethnographer’s Perspective (Edmond lived in a group home in Scotland for a year):

Edmond (2005):

“One of the most helpful ways of approaching ethnographic data is sequential analysis (Becker, 1971). The initial stage of analysis involves gaining an understanding of the setting and identifying the ways in which that understanding has come about. Second, focus is given to the frequency and typicality of each observation and the characters that are involved. Finally, researchers are required to move from a substantive focus to a more theoretical approach” (p. 135).

Ethnographic data analysis continued

Ethnographic Data Analysis, continued

Edmond, continued:

“After the fieldwork was completed, I read through the transcripts to identify the themes that were in play and constructed files of material that related to each. These themes were then broken down into subthemes. I also compiled a file consisting of data that were relevant to the experience of admission to the unit in an attempt to reflect on and support my own experience of admission” (p. 135).

Analytic induction from a symbolic interactionist s perspective

Analytic Induction from a Symbolic Interactionist’s Perspective

Karp (2001):

“In my research methods classes, I try to teach students about the logic of ‘analytic induction.’ I tell them that field workers, like anthropologists immersed in a foreign culture, must begin to construct tentative theories as soon as they enter their new worlds. At first, flooded by events, situations, and behaviors that they have never seen before, their theories will inevitably be highly tentative and fairly simple. Still, researchers must do their best to make sense of things, to offer some initial explanations for what they are seeing” (pp. 173-174).

Analytic induction cont

Analytic Induction, cont.

“As time passes and their new culture becomes more familiar, they will reject completely some of their initial ideas, decide that other lines of thinking have promise and should be elaborated, and begin to construct yet additional theories. In this way analytic induction involves a process of ongoing theory refinement until researchers create explanations that, ideally, are no longer contradicted by new data” (p. 174).

The dangers of analytic induction

The Dangers of Analytic Induction

Karp (2001):

“Occasionally, social scientists are seduced by their own theories. They become so emotionally attached to their ideas, so in love with them, that the prospect of changing theories or leaving them behind is hard to contemplate. As one wag put it, ‘Even a brutal gang of facts is sometimes not enough to murder a cherished theory’” (pp. 175-176).

  • Grade retention is an example

From ferguson s 2000 f ieldnotes

From Ferguson’s (2000) Fieldnotes

“Two girls, Adila and a friend, burst into the room followed by Miss Benton a black sixth-grade teacher and a group of five African American boys from her class. Miss Benton is yelling at the girls because they have been jumping in the hallway and one has knocked down part of a display on the bulletin board which she and her class put up the day before. She is yelling at the two girls about how they’re wasting time” (p. 85)

Ferguson s field notes continued

Ferguson’s field notes, continued

“This is what she says: ‘You’re doing exactly what they want you to do. You’re playing into their hands. Look at me! Next year they’re going to be tracking you.’

One of the girls ask her rather sullenly who ‘they’ is.

Miss Benton is furious. “Society, that’s who. You should be leading the class, not fooling around jumping around in the hallway. Someone has to give pride to the community. All the black men are on drugs, or in jail, or killing each other. Someone has got to hold it together. And the women have to do it. And you’re jumping up and down in the hallway’” (p. 85)

Data analysis

Before the next slide: What do you make of Ferguson’s fieldnotes? What theories do you construct?

Ferguson s analysis

Ferguson’s analysis

“Adultification is a central mechanism in the interpretive framing of gender roles. African American girls are constituted as different through this process. A notion of sexual passivity and innocence that prevails for white female children is displaced by the image of African American females as sexual beings: as immanent mothers, girlfriends, and sexual partners of the boys in the room….An incident in the Punishing Room…made visible the way that adult perceptions of youthful behavior were filtered through racial representations. African American boys and girls who misbehaved were not just breaking a rule out of high spirits and needing to be chastised for the act, but were adultified, gendered figures whose futures were already inscribed and foreclosed within a racial order…” (p. 84).

Categories handout

Categories Handout

From Dyson’s (1993) Social Worlds of Children Learning to Write:

□ “Categories for Event Components” (pp. 232-233)

Handout on data analysis

Handout on Data Analysis


Ely, M., with Anzul, M., Friedman, T., Garner, D., & Steinmetz, A. M. (1991). Doing qualitative research: Circles within circles. New York, NY: The Falmer Press.

On triangulation

On Triangulation

See Bogdan and Biklen(p. 116).

Greene and Hill (2005)”Triangulation can imply that there is a reality to which one can come closer by combining multiple perspectives” (p. 16).

Crystallization a better metaphor

Crystallization a Better Metaphor?

Richardson questions:

“the assumption that there is a ‘fixed point’ or ‘object’ that can be triangulated…Research might be better understood as a “crystal”—the facets of which “’reflect externalities and refract within themselves, creating different colors, patterns, arrays, casting off in different directions. What we see depends on the angle of our repose’” (Richardson, as cited in Greene & Hill, 2005, p. 16).



Dyson, A. H. (1993). Social worlds of children learning to write in an urban primary school. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Edmond, R. (2005). Ethnographic research methods with children and young people. In S.Greene & D. Hogan (Eds.), Researching children’s experiences: Approaches and methods (pp. 123-139). London, U.K.: Sage.

Ferguson, A. A. (2000). Bad boys: Public schools and the making of black masculinity. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.

Greene, S., & Hill, M. (2005). Conceptual, methodological and ethical issues in researching children’s experience. In S.Greene & D. Hogan (Eds.), Researching children’s experiences: Approaches and methods (pp. 1-21). London, U.K.: Sage.

References continued

References, continued

Karp, D. A. (2001). The burden of sympathy: How families cope with mental illness. New York: Oxford University Press.

LeCompte, M. D. (2000). Analyzing qualitative data. Theory into Practice, 39(3), 146-154. Retrieved from

Stake, R. E. (1995). The art of case study research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.



Creswell, J. W. (2008). Chapter 9, Analyzing and interpreting qualitative data. Educational research: Planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

Gibbs, G. R. (2007). Analyzing qualitative data. London, England: Sage.

Glesne, C. (2011). Chapter 7, Finding your story: Data analysis. Becoming qualitative researchers: An introduction (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

Resources continued

Resources continued.

Ryan, G.W. & Bernard, H.R. (2003). Techniques to identify themes in qualitative data. Field Methods, Vol. 15, No. 1, 85-109 Retrieved from

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