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Qualitative Data Analysis. SWRK 176 . One way of describing the difference between qualitative and quantitative methods is to talk about the purpose of the research. Studies can be:. Exploratory – looking at a situation about which little is known. (Qualitative Data Collection and Analysis)

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One way of describing the difference between qualitative and quantitative methods is to talk about the purpose of the research. Studies can be:

  • Exploratory – looking at a situation about which little is known. (Qualitative Data Collection and Analysis)
  • Descriptive – finding out what happens in specific situations. (Primarily quantitative methods, but some qualitative questions – statistical analysis requires descriptive statistics)
  • Explanatory – looks at whether there is a relationship between cause and effect (Quantitative – uses inferential or nonparametric statistics).
qualitative research
Qualitative Research
  • Is used to describe behaviors, actions, feelings, perceptions, and interaction among people
  • It assumes that respondents or people observed have unique views of their personal experiences or the surrounding environment.
  • Is used to help us understand lifestyles and cultural values, actions, and symbols.
symbols are short hand ways of describing complex situations symbols may include
Symbols are short-hand ways of describing complex situations. Symbols may include:
  • Words
  • Documents (including videos and films)
  • Music
  • Graphical reproductions printed on books, flyers, or posters
  • Specific types of actions taken within a cultural context
examples of symbols
Examples of symbols
  • The Eagle on the United Farm Workers’ posters.
  • The use of “Baby Boomer” music by political candidates. For example, Cruz Bustamante used a song called “Small Town.”
  • Among some immigrant groups, wearing traditional clothing might symbolize a person’s respect for his or her own culture.
  • In a TV commercial, specific types of behavior – such as women cleaning or men fixing cars may symbolize things that we as a society expect from men and women.
  • Street gang-related graffiti
we use qualitative research to
We use qualitative research to:
  • Develop an understanding of people or groups that we know very little about
  • Develop new theories that are relevant to women, people of color, and other groups in society that might have been excluded from previous studies.
for example qualitative research can be used to understand the lives of
For example, qualitative research can be used to understand the lives of:
  • Women
  • Gay men, lesbians, or transgendered people.
  • People of color
  • Low income communities
  • Nudists
  • Members of the hip hop community
applications of qualitative research in social work include
Applications of qualitative research in social work include:

Developing culturally competent practice methods.

Understanding how practice is undertaken within social service organizations.

Understanding how social service organizations operate or how and why interventions actually work.

Understanding service user and social worker behavior.

Understanding what it feels like to be a client or worker

for qualitative interviewing content analysis and observation tools must be used to record data
For qualitative interviewing, content analysis, and observation, tools must be used to record data
  • For individual and group interviews, use a combination of tape recording and note taking.
  • For observation, field notes should be taken.
  • For content analysis, copies of the documents can be made or some type of measurement or note taking device is needed to record common words, phrases, or themes.
in addition to frequency both qualitative and quantitative analysis can measure
In addition to frequency, both qualitative and quantitative analysis can measure:
  • Whether something happens during specific times in the observation (occurrence).
  • Length of something that happened (duration).
  • Degree to which something happened (magnitude) – for example, sound or brightness, etc.
  • Whether a particular product was produced during the period of observation (for example, completion of a project by team members or empty beer bottles in a park in which homeless people hang out).
three types of data collection
Three types of data collection
  • Observation
  • Interviewing
  • Content analysis

(You may use all two or three methods in one study)

qualitative content analysis can include
Qualitative Content Analysis can include:
  • Case records
  • Audio tapes, videotapes, TV shows, and films.
  • Books
  • People’s diaries
  • Newspaper accounts of events
Using observation or interviews, in addition to what respondents said in the interview or what we saw, we should collect information on:
  • What the participant did.
  • His or her appearance.
  • Body language and affect ( how they appeared to be feeling).
  • The surrounding environment
  • Interaction among two or more research subjects.
  • Your own reactions to the interview or observation
data to be analyzed will consist of
Data to be analyzed will consist of:
  • Words recorded on tape or transcribed.
  • Your notes.
  • Documents or other pre-existing items.
Richardson (2000 as cited in Montcalm & Royse, 2002) identifies four types of notes you should keep on your research.
  • Observational notes – description of what you saw, heard, and felt.
  • Methodological notes – what decisions did you make about doing the interview or observation and analyzing your data.
  • Theoretical notes – your initial impressions or hypotheses.
  • Personal notes – statements reflecting what you are thinking or feeling about your work.
components of qualitative analysis
Components of qualitative analysis
  • Organizing words or behaviors into categories, patterns, and themes.
  • Sample quotations.
  • Written narratives that summarize what you found out.
where to start basic or first level coding establishment of categories
Where to start – basic or “first level” coding (establishment of categories)
  • Creation of data transcript. Organizing this transcript into units of analysis – easiest way is to do this question by question in your interview guide (assumes that you have asked all of most of the questions to each of the respondents).
  • Choose a unit of analysis in a written document or transcript. This might be a whole interview, page, paragraph, sentence, phrase, or word.
  • Across all respondents, count the number of times a particular word, similar phrase or sentence occurs.*
  • Establish categories for similar phrases or thoughts.
  • Put together a frequency table to indicate how many times this common element occurs or simply describe how many times it occurred in your narrative

*You may want to double check or triple check your categories and the assignments of responses to each. You might also want to have someone else do the analysis over to make sure there is nothing that you missed.

** You can also present your results in terms of occurrence, magnitude, duration, or whether products were produced).

The next step is making comparison across categories and among questions (axial or second level coding)
  • Are there similarities among the categories
  • Does one category precede another
  • Do two categories occur at the same time in the same statement
  • Are there overlaps among the categories
  • Are there obvious patterns or themes
  • Can a hypothesis be generated about cause and effect relationships (based on these patterns).

For example, if we were to use the following interview guide, we would transcribe all responses underneath each question in a WORD processing program. (Sample interview guide)

1. Can you describe how you first became aware of your deafness?

Respondent #1

Respondent #2

Respondent #3

2. How do you see yourself today, in terms of your deafness?

Respondent #1

Respondent #2

Respondent #3

From Janesick, V. (1998). "Stretching" exercises for qualitative researchers. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, p. 75.

we enhance reliability of our data analysis by
We enhance reliability of our data analysis by:
  • Comparing our categories to pre-existing frameworks.
  • Having an additional person redo the analysis.
  • Comparing notes from more than one source.
  • Using more than one type of qualitative data in our analysis (observation, interviews, document analysis).
  • Supplementing the qualitative analysis with information from another quantitative source (for example, a survey).
  • Keeping a record (audit) of how you established data categories and identified themes.
  • Establishing a feedback loop so that participants can verify whether or not the analysis is accurate enough to reflect their views.

Focus Groups: Form a group of 4 to 5 people. One person should be the interviewer. Another should take notes. Address the following three questions:

  • What are the best things about the BA program in social work?
  • What are the worst things about the BA program in social work?
  • How can the BA program in social work be improved?
next week
Next week:
  • We will talk more about making comparisons among respondents.
  • We will describe how to write up results of qualitative research.
  • We will analyze a written narrative.