Steps in Qualitative Analysis

Stepping Your Way through Effective Qualitative Data Analysis

  1. Identifying biases/ noting overall impressions – Doing this fully is extremely important. If you do not acknowledge preconceived notions and actively work to neutralize them, you are likely to find exactly what you expect to find!

  2. Reducing and coding into themes your data – This involves building both categories and subcategories that are likely to expand as you work your way through your data.

  3. Searching for patterns and interconnections – You are likely to have overlapping themes across your data sources – so this step asks you to search for commonalities and divergences.

  4. Mapping and building themes – One small section of a preliminary map might be as follows (take music video analysis as an example). From here you would a) continue mapping all the main themes b) create even more sub categories as appropriate; and c) map various interconnections. Don’t forget to call on the literature in doing these tasks.

  5. Building and verifying theories – this is your ‘hey you know what might be going on here’ moment that will hopeful dawn on you as you go over your data for the 103rd time and play around with your maps for the 72nd time.

  6. Drawing conclusions – you are likely to find out much more through the processes than you could possible share, so you will need to decide what is most significant/ important and link this back to your project’s main questions, aims and objectives in the most compelling and credible way.