I have collected data through interviews, observations and documents (student homework, articles). I have more documents than I do anything else right now. I am still conducting interviews and my students are still working on their budget projects.
In Sharan Merriam’s book, she lists ten helpful suggestions for analysing data as they are being collected:
- Force yourself to make decisions that narrow the study
- Force yourself to make decision concerning the type of study you want to accomplish
- Develop analytic questions
- Plan data collection sessions according to what you find in previous observations
- Write many “observer’s comments” as you go
- Write memos to yourself about what you are learning
- Try out ideas and themes on participants
- Begin exploring the literature while you are in the field
- Play with metaphors, analogies and concepts
- Use visual devices.
I can do some of these, as I am still collecting data. It is a lot of data and I need to keep focused on what my questions were for the action research project.
In Madelon Eelderink’s article she lists four easy steps to getting to know your data.
- Get familiar with your data
- Identify codes and themes
- Coding your data
- Organize your codes and themes.
I like this list better. I have several interviews done and going through them. I am going to code all my data and take names off. I don’t want to break confidentiality when writing up my research. I have come up with themes/categories for the data. I am needing to ask more from professionals and parents. That might be a challenge but I am going to try. “Interview transcripts are among the best qualitative analysis resources available—but you need the right methods to use them successfully.” (Canary, 2019) Canary goes on to list six steps on how to analyse interviews. He is talking about the “REV’ and I am going to sign up for a free trial to see if it will help me with my interview data.
The observations part of the research I might not be able to use. I have plenty of holes in my observations because I didn’t write down enough information and I have forgotten what certain notes mean. All the articles I have read said this may happen if we don’t start analysing right away.
Canary, Austin. 2019. How to Analyze Interview Transcripts in Qualitative Research. https://www.rev.com/blog/analyze-interview-transcripts-in-qualitative-research
Eelderink, Madelon. 2015. Qualitative data – analysis: making sense of data in 4 steps. https://www.7sens.es/qualitative-data-analysis-making-sense-of-data-in-4-steps/
Merriam, Sharan. 2009. Qualitative Research; A Guide to Design and Implementation. San Francisco; Jossey-Bass.