Nov. 20, 2013
The Analysis Process
1. Get to know your data
2. Focus the analysis
4. Identify patterns and connections within and between categories
Step 1 – Get to know your data
Good analysis depends on understanding the data. For qualitative analysis, this means
you read and re-read the text. If you have tape recordings, you listen to them several
Write down any impressions you have as you go through the data. These impressions
may be useful later.
Also, just because you have data does not mean it is quality data. Sometimes,
information provided does not add meaning or value. Or it may have been collected in
a biased way.
Before beginning any analysis, consider the quality of the data and proceed accordingly.
Investing time and effort in analysis may give the impression of greater value than is
Explain the limitations and level of analysis you deem appropriate given your data
Step 2 – Focus the analysis
Focus by question or topic, time period or event:
Focus the analysis to look at how all individuals or groups responded to each question or
topic, or for a given time period or event. Organize the data by question to look across
all respondents and their answers in order to identify consistencies and differences. Put
all the data from each question together. You can apply the same approach to
particular topics, or a time period or an event of interest.
Focus by case, individual or group:
One case such as one family or one agency
One individual such as a first-time participant in a community program
One group such as participants of a particular age group in a community program Rather than grouping these respondents’ answers by question or topic, you organize the
data around the case, individual or group and analyze it as a whole.
Or you may want to combine these approaches and analyze the data both by question
and by case, individual or group.
Step 3 – Categorize
Identify themes or patterns – ideas, concepts, behaviors, interactions, incidents,
terminology, or phrases used.
Organize them into coherent categories that summarize and bring meaning to the text
This can be fairly labor-intensive depending on the amount of data you have. It involved
reading and re-reading the text and identifying cogerent categories.
You may want to assign abbreviated codes of a few letters, words or symbols and place