Skip main navigation

New offer! Get 30% off one whole year of Unlimited learning. Subscribe for just £249.99 £174.99. New subscribers only T&Cs apply

Find out more

Data analysis in qualitative approach

Data analysis in qualitative approach
Usually in this step, we used coding process to generate a description of the setting or people as well as categories or themes for analysis. This description involves a detailed rendering of information about people, places or events in a setting. Researchers can generate codes for this description. And this analysis is useful in designing detailed descriptions for case studies, ethnography and narrative research projects. Then we use the coding to generate a small number of themes or categories, perhaps five to seven categories for a research study. Now these themes are the ones that appear as major findings in qualitative studies and are often used to create headings in the finding, findings sections of the studies. So these are just some example.
You have a code one, code two, code three, and probably have a lot of codes, different codes. And then after each code, you give a description of what this code is about and what is the expression from the interview, and from the images, and from the videos. And probably you would find that code one, code two, and code three, they have similar nature, and you group them together to form theme one. And similarly, you probably will find that code four and code five have, you know, similar natures, and then you group them together to form theme two. The next step is to present the themes.
Now that we have got themes, the most popular approach to present the themes is to use a narrative passage to convey the findings of the analysis. This might be a discussion that mentions a chronology of events, the detailed discussion of several themes, complete with sub-themes, specific illustrations, multiple perspectives from individuals and quotations, or a discussion with interconnecting themes. Many qualitative researchers also use visuals, figures, or tables as adjuncts to the discussions. They present a process model, as in grounded theory, advance a drawing of the specific research site, or convey this descriptive information about each participant in a table. So you know, this is just some of the very simple example I can show you how to present a theme.
Theme 1, you probably would make it as heading. And then you give a narrative passage on this heading. Theme 2, adds a narrative passage. And you probably would like to include some visuals, like some figures and tables, to illustrate what you have presented.
So the final step, the most important step is to do the interpretation. In this step, we ask the question, what were the lessons learned? These lessons could be the researchers’ personal interpretation couched in the understanding that the inquirer brings to the study from her or his own culture, history and experiences. It could also be a meaning derived from a comparison of the findings with information gleaned from the literature of theories. In this way, authors suggest that the findings confirm past information or diverge from it. It can also suggest new questions that need to be asked, questions raised by the data and analysis that the inquirer had not foreseen earlier in the study.
We can triangulate different data sources of information by examining evidence from sources, and using it to build a coherent justification for themes. This is an example of triangulation. We use different data sources, participant observation, in-depth interview, and we do also some surveys. But in qualitative research, pure qualitative research probably, this is another technique, for example, a focus group, apart from interviews, apart from participant observation, we probably have document analysis here. Another thing we can do is to enhance the inter-coder reliability. Inter-coder reliability refers to the extent to which two or more independent coders agree on the coding of the content of interest with an application of the same coding scheme.
This is an example of how we can ensure inter-coder reliability. Now we can have three different coders to code on the same document. Let’s say the document is this picture. And the first coder might say this is a bird, And the first coder might say this is a bird, so the code that the first coder gives is a bird. And the seconder coder might say, (this is a) black bird. And the third coder might say (this is a) bird on the ground. And then the three coders discuss with each other and they agreed one term, probably the agreed term is bird. In this way, the inter-coder reliability is ensured. At least now we wouldn’t say it is a chicken.
So far, we have learned about the procedures in developing a qualitative research. Apart from the key procedures, there are many other factors influencing the design of our study, including the resources we have, research skills, perceived problems, ethical standards, and research setting, and the data we collect. As this figure illustrates, we are constrained by all these factors and we need to take them into consideration when we design our studies. So are you ready?

Let’s continue to learn the data analysis steps in qualitative research with Dr. Ren.

How to present the themes in qualitative research?

We would like to invite you to share some thoughts in the comment section below. Any comments from you will be helpful.

This article is from the free online

Research Methods in Tourism Studies

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now