Take Home Messages

Analysis is a bridge building exercise. It is the stage where we work on our data, forging a bridge between raw information and knowledge. Analysis requires us to:

  • Organise our evidence by separating it out (i.e. working on one piece of data at a time).
  • See how our different sources of data relate. This allows us to interpret it and reach an explanation (or answer to our research question).

To see how data relates and to interpret it, we need to use tools of analysis. These different depending on the data you are working with.

  • For data such as interviews, focus groups and so on we usually transcribe our data into a script which we can then code to find themes.
  • For data such as policy reports, archives, films, photos and so on we usually engage with textual analysis: dissecting the text for signs and discourse. 
  • For data such as numbers and figures we may run descriptive statistics to understand the shape of data, or correlate data sets to test for relationships. We could also map our data.