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Beginning Analysis and Coding

QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DATA ANALYSIS

In psychology, quantitative and qualitative analysis are two regularly used approaches to examine phenomena and analyse data. There are many factors you must consider in order to determine the best approach to examine phenomena and analyse data. These include phenomena you plan to examine, the research question(s) you hope to answer, and the type of data you intend to collect. These factors inform which approach you may take.

Discussion Question:

1. Evaluate quantitative data analysis

2. Evaluate qualitative data analysis

Note: To prepare for this Discussion, review this week’s Learning Resources (attached).

Instructions:

1). Support the Assignment with specific references to all resources used in its preparation (including URL where applicable).

2). All sources must be scholarly.

3. Include In-text citations and references ALL in the APA format.

Resources: Creswell, J. W. (2013). Qualitative inquiry & research design: Choosing among five approaches (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis in Applied Psychology

Copyright—Laureate Online Education © All rights reserved, 2000–2012.

The Module, in all its parts—Syllabus, guidelines, Weekly Notes, Discussion Questions, technical notes,

images and any additional material—is copyrighted by Laureate Online Education B.V.

Last update: 8 March 2012

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Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis in Applied Psychology

Week 5 Weekly Notes: Beginning Analysis and Coding

Throughout the course of qualitative analysis, researchers should be asking themselves questions such as:

• “What patterns and common themes are emerging?”

• “Do the patterns, or lack of patterns, imply broader questions?”

• “What ideas and experiences are emerging from participant responses?”

• “What other questions should be posed to new participants?”

• “What does the literature say about the themes and patterns I am labelling?”

In fact, questions are central to research and inquiry. One of the first steps in conducting research is to create a research question and then decide what kind of data you would like to collect. Next, you must decide which approach, qualitative or quantitative, will yield the kind of data you need. Finally, you must analyse the collected data. This week you assess quantitative and qualitative data analysis as well as examine how researchers analyse data they have. Researchers begin to analyse data by first coding the data into themes and then into sub-themes. Researchers must also decide on effective ways to store and manage their qualitative data.

Data Reduction and Coding

As researchers formulate new ideas and approaches for research studies, they decide how they are going to analyse the collected data. Before beginning a study, researchers must also decide how to manage and store the large amounts of data that may be generated. The initial stage of analysing qualitative data occurs in data reduction and coding. The codes are then collected into overarching themes. Finally, researchers begin to display the data in the form of visual models which are known as data displays.

In qualitative research even small scale studies can produce a lot of data. Qualitative data can vary in form and content because researchers collect data in different ways, using both different methods and methodologies. Researchers begin the process of data reduction by first reducing the data to a more manageable size. This is accomplished through a process called coding. Coding is the first stage in data analysis and represents the processes through which data is broken down, conceptualised, and then put back together in new ways. This is the main way in which theories are developed from data. For coding, researchers need data to be in a written format, which is usually a transcript. Most qualitative analytical frameworks require use of

Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis in Applied Psychology

Copyright—Laureate Online Education © All rights reserved, 2000–2012.

The Module, in all its parts—Syllabus, guidelines, Weekly Notes, Discussion Questions, technical notes,

images and any additional material—is copyrighted by Laureate Online Education B.V.

Last update: 8 March 2012

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coding, and possibly the re-coding, of sections of data. Then, researchers categorise the codes into themes.

Researchers need a good management and storage system for the themes generated during coding. Doing this helps to retrieve codes and keep track of data. Data can be stored manually or electronically. Storing data manually includes cutting and pasting codes and themes from copies of the transcripts and putting them onto individual index cards. Codes are printed on cards and then become physically piled on top of other cards with codes whose patterns match. Storing data electronically may include using a computer spreadsheet. With this system, you can use different spreadsheets for different themes and retrieve them easily. If you begin to conduct qualitative research on a regular basis, it may be a good idea to invest in a software package and then spend some time learning its features.

Data Analysis

Approaches to coding are usually dependent on the theoretical position of the researcher. This is pre-determined by the researcher who then sorts the data into themes. One approach is a content-specific scheme. Another approach is a grounded context-specific scheme. With this particular approach codes are generated by the language of the participants or by issues discussed by the participants. Below is an excerpt from a transcript that has been coded. The different colours match the map (C1 and C2 are the identifications for the participants who are a married couple).

C1 Well I can’t help it. I do think that women should stay at home with the children. I know it is different for you and your generation {indicates researcher} but in my day father went out to work and mother stayed at home. That was the way it was. I wouldn’t have known the first thing about looking after the children. We agreed that was her…job, if you like.

Women’s place

Male bread winner

Parenting

Changing roles – women’s place?

Motherhood – child care Different from before Lack of knowledge about childcare

Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis in Applied Psychology

Copyright—Laureate Online Education © All rights reserved, 2000–2012.

The Module, in all its parts—Syllabus, guidelines, Weekly Notes, Discussion Questions, technical notes,

images and any additional material—is copyrighted by Laureate Online Education B.V.

Last update: 8 March 2012

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C2 Did we? {C1/C2 laugh} [Pause]

C2 I have a part time job now in the bakery and I really enjoy it though it doesn’t make very much. I get a lot of free cakes though which he never moans about {laughs}!! C1 Yes there are some benefits aren’t there? {laughs} C2 Don’t get me wrong I did enjoy looking after the children but it was not like it is nowadays with all this child care help. They have all sorts now – mother & toddlers, babysitting circles they’re even talking about having a young mums group. When I was a young mum it was like here’s a nappy, here’s a bottle, just get on with it. C1 You were fine though weren’t you?

Changing femininities Freedom from traditional role

Changing roles More resources Easier parenting now

Dismissive of difficulties experienced

Generating themes

The act of coding produces a series of codes which are chunks of sentences. From our earlier example, some codes generated by the analysis process are:

• Traditional notions of motherhood

• Traditional notions of fatherhood

• The male breadwinner (the person who makes more money)

• Woman’s place in society

• Changing roles

• Easier now

Once researchers code the transcripts, they then need to identify central themes and begin to make links between the central theme and sub-themes. Sometimes themes become apparent early on in data collection (i.e. before interviews are complete). When that is the case, remaining interviews can then focus on validating those assumptions/themes for subsequent participants.

Data Display

One way of helping to make links between codes and themes, as well as connections among themes, is to display them in a visual way. The model below illustrates how a researcher has mapped out his or her codes in order to tell a story about the research. The researcher has taken the codes from the example above and has mapped out relationships between codes. These initial codes were then developed into sub-themes (i.e. a grouping together of the initial codes which are represented by the green text). Identifying the key theme for this part of the analysis of childcare shows how the key theme relates to the initial codes and how it relates to the sub-themes (shown by the

Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis in Applied Psychology

Copyright—Laureate Online Education © All rights reserved, 2000–2012.

The Module, in all its parts—Syllabus, guidelines, Weekly Notes, Discussion Questions, technical notes,

images and any additional material—is copyrighted by Laureate Online Education B.V.

Last update: 8 March 2012

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flow of arrows). This chart also shows interrelationships among different themes identified in the text. By developing key themes and sub-themes, the researcher has entered into the next stage of analysis which is called interpretation.

In Practice

Transcripts include all responses from both participants and researchers. By examining transcripts, researchers can evaluate which questions they asked, how they might have said things differently, and how they might improve upon their interview techniques. By completing this examination and evaluation, researchers are being hermeneutical; therefore, the next participant’s data may be even more substantial. There are always opportunities to improve awareness of what is being said, and the ability to draw out information that may be even more rich or substantial.

This week you analyse qualitative data. Thinking about the meaning of words, and the implied meanings in transcripts, can be an enriching experience, but it takes practice. As you work on extracting, coding, and analysing data from the provided transcripts, imagine what it would have been like to be the person asking the questions. Which questions might you have asked differently? Can you think of additional questions that you would have liked to ask?