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  1. Qualitative Data Analysis AEF 801 Research Methods and Project Management

  2. Session Aim and Objectives • Aim • To introduce students to the analysis of qualitative data • Objectives • By the end students will have an appreciation of: • The principles of analysing qualitative data • The Qualitative Analytical Process • Qualitative Data Management Tools • How to present qualitative results • Part1: Theory • Part 2: Qualitative Analysis: A worked example

  3. Qualitative Research • Qualitative research is an interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and sometimes counterdisciplinary field. It crosses the humanities and the social and physical sciences. Qualitative research is many things at the same time. It is multiparadigmatic in focus. Its practitioners are sensitive to the value of the multimethod approach. They are committed to the naturalistic perspective, and to the interpretative understanding of human experience. At the same time, the field is inherently political and shaped by multiple ethical and political positions. • Nelson et al’s (1992, p4)

  4. Qualitative Inquiry • Purpose The purpose of qualitative inquiry is to produce findings. The Data Collection process is not an end in itself. The culminating activities of qualitative inquiry are analysis, interpretation, and presentation of findings. • Challenge • To make sense of massive amounts of data, reduce the volume of information, identify significant patterns and construct a framework for communicating the essence of what the data reveal • Problem • ‘…have few agreed-on canons for qualitative data analysis, in the sense of shared ground rules for drawing conclusions and verifying sturdiness’ Miles and Huberman, 1984)

  5. The Creativity of Qualitative Inquiry • ‘..the human element of qualitative inquiry is both is strength and weakness - its strength is fully using human insight and experience, its weakness is being so heavily dependent on the researcher’s skill, training, intellect, discipline, and creativity. The researcher is the instrument of qualitative inquiry, so the quality of the research depends heavily on the qualities of that human being’ (Patton, 1988)

  6. The Science and Art of Qualitative Inquiry(Patton, 1988) • The Science • The scientific part is systematic, analytical, rigorous, disciplined, and critical in perspective • The Art • The artistic part is exploring, playful, metaphorical, insightful, and creative

  7. The Critical and Creative Thinker • ‘Just as creative thinkers want to be creative, critical thinkers, it seems , want to be critical, or at least to be certain. Yet the critical attitude and the creative attitude seem to be poles apart…On one hand, there are those who are always telling you why ideas won’t work but who never seem able to come up with alternatives of their own; and, on the other hand, there are those who are constantly coming up with ideas but seem unable to tell good from bad. There are people in whom both attitudes are developed to a high degree…, but even these people say they assume only one of these attitudes at a time. When new ideas are needed, they put on their creative caps, and when ideas need to be evaluated, they but on their critical caps’ • (Anderson, 1980:66)

  8. Critical Thinking • Critical Thinking • ‘Critical Thinking calls for a persistent effort to examine any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the evidence that supports it and the further conclusions to which it tends’ (Glaser, 1941) • or more simply! • Critical Thinking means weighting up the arguments and evidence for and against. • Key points when thinking critically are (Glaser, 1941): • Persistence: Considering an issue carefully and more than once • Evidence: Evaluating the evidence put forward in support of the belief or viewpoint • Implications: Considering where the belief or viewpoint leads; what conclusions would follow; are these suitable and rational; and if not, should the belief or viewpoint be reconsidered

  9. Analytical Thinking • Analytical Thinking involves additional processes: • Standing back form the information given • Examining it in detail from many angles • Checking closely whether each statement follows logically from what went before • Looking for possible flaws in the reasoning, the evidence, or the way that conclusions are drawn • Comparing the same issues from the point of view of other writers • Being able to see and explain why different people arrived at different conclusions • Being able to argue why one set of opinions, results or conclusions is preferable to another • Being on guard for literary or statistical devices that encourage the reader to take questionable statements at face value • Checking for hidden assumptions • Checking for attempts to lure the reader into agreements

  10. Guidance for Creative Thinking • Be open • Generate Options • Divergence before convergence • Use multiple stimuli • Side track, zig-zag, and circumnavigate • Change patterns • Make Linkages • Trust yourself • Work and Play at it

  11. The Credibility of Qualitative Analysis • The credibility for qualitative inquiry depends on three distinct but related inquiry elements: • Rigorous techniques and methods for gathering high-quality data that is carefully analysed, with attention to issues of validity, reliability, and triangulation • The credibility of the researcher, which is dependent on training, experience, track record, status, and presentation of self • Philosophical belief in the phenomenological paradigm, that is, a fundamental appreciation of naturalistic inquiry, qualitative methods, inductive analysis and holistic thinking

  12. A Credible Qualitative Study • A credible qualitative study needs to address the following issues: • What techniques and methods were used to ensure the integrity, validity, and accuracy of the findings • What does the researcher bring to study in terms of qualifications, experience, and perspective • What paradigm orientation and assumption undergrid the study

  13. Qualitative Research: Common Features of Analytic Methods(Miles and Huberman, 1994) • Affixing codes to a set of field notes drawn from data collection • Noting reflections or other remarks in margin • Sorting or shifting through the materials to identify similar phrases, relationships between themes, distinct differences between subgroups and common sequences • Isolating patterns and processes, commonalties and differences, and taking them out to the filed in the next wave of data collection • Gradually elaborating a small set of generalisations that cover the consistencies discerned in the data base • Confronting those generalisations with a formalised body of knowledge in the from of constructs or theories

  14. Principles of Analysing Qualitative Data • Proceed systematically and rigorously (minimise human error) • Record process, memos, journals, etc. • Focus on responding to research questions • Appropriate level of interpretation appropriate for situation • Time (process of inquiry and analysis are often simultaneous) • Seek to explain or enlighten • Evolutionary/emerging

  15. The Analysis Continuum Raw Data Descriptive Statements Interpretation

  16. The Qualitative Analytical Process

  17. 1. Analysis Considerations • Words • Context (tone and inflection) • Internal consistency (opinion shifts during groups) • Frequency and intensity of comments (counting, content analysis) • Specificity • Trends/themes • Iteration (data collection and analysis is an iterative process moving back and forth)

  18. 2. The Procedures • Coding/indexing • Categorisation • Abstraction • Comparison • Dimensionalisation • Integration • Iteration • Refutation (subjecting inferences to scrutiny) • Interpretation (grasp of meaning - difficult to describe procedurally)

  19. The Qualitative Analytical Process(Adapted from descriptions of Strauss and Corbin, 1990, Spiggle 1994, Miles and Huberman, 1994) Components Procedures Outcomes Data Reductions Description Coding Categorisation Abstraction Comparison Dimensionalisation Integration Interpretation Data Display Conclusions & Verification Explanation/ Interpretation

  20. Qualitative Data Management Tools • QSR NUD.IST • (Non-numerical unstructured data indexing searching and theorising) • Enables efficient data management by supporting the processes of indexing, searching and hence data theorising • Creates an environment to store and explore data and ideas, it does not determine the research approach. • The major advantage of the package is that it enables an efficient and flexible approach to rigorously and systematically analysing qualitative data.

  21. SAFEFOOD Interactive WorkshopsA worked example Preliminary qualitative data analysis (information to be provided)

  22. QSR NUD.IST • The QSR NUD.IST software tools are incorporated into two interlocking systems; a document system and an index system • Document Database • Enables text to be stored, edited and retrieved; memos to record ideas can be attached to text; and word and phrase searches can be conducted on the documents • Index Database • Enables the researcher to: code the data; conduct multiple concept or coded category searches thereby providing responses to research questions and theory development; and provides the means to record ideas about the data through memos attached to the various indices