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2. Qualitative analysis

The distinction between qualitative and quantitative data is not as clear cut as is often thought. Quantitative data is often also qualitative data and qualitative data can be quantitative data. However it is still a useful ‘common sense’ distinction when thinking about how to collate, analyse and report on data.

Qualitative data - possibilities

Qualitative data can be in a multitude of forms, for example

  • Interviews and focus group discussions
  • Transcripts of interviews and focus group discussion
  • Audio tapes of interviews and discussions
  • Photos
  • Video
  • Client files
  • Policy manuals
  • Historical records
  • Reports
  • Books
  • Newspapers.

Analysis of qualitative data turns data into findings. However there is no recipe for that process.
Some approaches to organising qualitative data are:

  • Storytelling approaches
    Chronology and history
  • Case study approaches
         Critical incidents
  • Analytical framework approaches
         Sensitizing concepts

Some approaches to analysing qualitative data are:

  • Pattern, theme and content analysis
  • Developing classification and coding schemes
  • Comparing and contrasting
  • Logical analysis
  • Developing typologies
  • Mapping processes and impacts
  • Qualitative data analysis can be assisted by computers software.