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SOCI 211 (34)
Chapter 14

Chapter 14 Qualitative Data Analysis

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Sociology (Arts)
SOCI 211
Yasmin Bayer

Chapter 14: Qualitative Data Analysis Overview:  Most qualitative researchers want to summarize and generalize from their data.  This chapter presents some of the common practices on how researchers bring order to their data. We will discuss grounded theories and the processing of qualitative data, focusing on coding and memoing. Introduction What is qualitative analysis? The nonnumeric examination and interpretation of observations, for the purpose of discovering underlying meanings and patterns of relationships. This is most typical, for example, of field research and historical research. Qualitative data analysis is concerned with how you determine what’s important to observe and how you formulate your analytical conclusions based on those observations. What is the goal of qualitative analysis? A major goal in analysis of qualitative data is to reveal themes that emerge from the data. This process is largely a search for patterns of similarities and differences followed by an interpretation of those patterns. Searching for Patterns What is the pattern researchers are searching for? 1. Similarities: patterns of interaction and events that are general common  Ex: many people check for police officers before jaywalking. 2. Dissimilarities: deviation from the general ideas noted  Ex: Different people handle the problem of standing in a line for tickets at a movie theatre differently. Some stare into space, some strike up conversations with strangers, some talk to themselves, some keep counting their money, etc. What are the 6 different ways of looking for patterns in the topic of your research? Lofland et. Al gives the example of child abuse in a particular neighborhood: 1. Frequencies: How often does child abuse occur among families in the neighborhood under study? We should be aware of the possible differences between actual frequencies and what people are willing to tell us. 2. Magnitudes: what are the levels of abuse? How brutal are they? 3. Structures: what are the difference types of abuse: physical, mental, sexual? Are they related? 4. Processes: is there any order among the elements of structure? Do abusers begin with mental abuse and move on to physical and sexual abuse, or does the order of elements vary? 5. Causes: what are the causes of child abuse? Is it more common in particular social classes, different religious or ethnic groups? Does it occur more often during good or bad times? 6. Consequences: how does child abuse affect he victims, in both the short and the long term? What changes does it cause in the abusers? The Role of theory What is Grounded Theory Method? GTM is an inductive approach to research introduced by Glaser & Strauss in which theories are generated from an examination of data, through the constant comparing of unfolding observations. Most research projects are conducted without a priori theory in mind – the theory emerg
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