The First Step In Qualitative Research: Determine Your Goal
Determine what you want to study:
- A current or potential product, service or brand positioning
- Strengths and weaknesses in products
- Purchasing decisions
- Reactions to advertising or marketing campaigns
- Usability of a website or other interactive services
- Perceptions about the company, brand or product
- Reactions to packaging and design
Drafting Case Studies Or Case Memos
Qualitative data can also be used to assemble a detailed description of one place, program, or group. These nuanced descriptions are commonly referred to as case studies or case memos. For example, a studys research questions might require the researchers to document how a program was implemented and the challenges the program staff faced during this phase, for each of the sites selected for the sample. To facilitate answering this question, researchers can write a detailed case study for each site where data collection occurred. These case studies can then be compared to identify similarities and differences across sites and recognize emerging trends.
Throughout the analysis process, the researcher must remain open to new interpretations and insights. The data analysis ends when the best possible fit has been reached between the observations and interpretations .
Bailey, Carol A. 2007. A Guide to Qualitative Field Research. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press, Sage Publications.
GAO . 1991. Case Study Evaluation. Washington, DC: GAO.
Huberman, A. Michael, and Matthew B. Miles. 1994. Data Management and Analysis Methods. In Handbook of Qualitative Research, edited by Norman K. Denzin and Yvonna S. Lincoln, 42844.Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Yin, Robert K. 2003. Case Study Research: Design and Methods. 3rd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Get Reliable Transcription Services For Qualitative Research Interviews
As mentioned, you should transcribe qualitative research interviews as soon as possible. There are several reasons for this.
- You can gain insights that help you shape your interview guide. You might identify questions to add or questions to clarify.
- Your interview participants may not be appropriate for this type of qualitative research. Finding more targeted interview subjects may be better.
- Answers may evolve the qualitative research goal and/or data analysis.
At Rev, we understand the need for fast transcription for accurate market research. We provide a turnaround time of as few as 12 hours, no matter how big your project is. We guarantee 99%+ accuracy.
Learn about Revs . We can help make your qualitative research project a success.
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Start With A Small Sample Of The Data
Youll want to start with a small sample of your data to make sure the tags youre using will be applicable to the rest of the set. You dont want to waste time by going through and manually tagging each piece of data, only to realize at the end that the tags youve been using actually arent accurate.
Once youve broken up your qualitative data into the different categories, choose 10-20% of responses in each category to tag using inductive coding. Then, continue onto the analysis phase using just that 10-20%. If youre able to find takeaways and easily compare the data with that small sample, then you can continue coding the rest of the data in that same way, adding additional tags where needed.
Examples Of Qualitative Research
Qualitative research helps researchers understand the social reality of individuals, groups and cultures. Qualitative research for businesses involves understanding consumer behavior. It can involve ethnographic techniques, including participant observation and field research. It also includes phenomenology, understanding life experiences using written or recorded narratives. Qualitative research also includes in-depth interviews.
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Identify Key Concepts From The Existing Research Framework To Turn Into Initial Codes
Get familiar with your existing research framework, and extract concepts that can be turned into your initial codes. For example, if youre using the framework, Maslows Hierarchy of Needs, you can create an initial code list that represents each tier of human needs, Physiological needs, safety needs, belongingness and love needs, esteem needs, and self actualization
Identify The Stages Of The Journey
At the end of your interview, you should always ask participants to reflect back on the journey they just narrated and identify the key stages in that journey. We often ask interviewees to name the stages in their journey as episodes in a series or chapters in a book.
When you start coding your interview, skip to the last few minutes of the interview first to capture what these stages are. Find where they name the stages of their journey and capture each stage in its own column in your coding sheet.
Be sure to clearly identify where one stage stops and another begins. When you analyze for patterns later, you will need to be clear about what happened during what stage.
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How To Make Qualitative Interview Subjects Comfortable
For long interviews, offer water and breaks to participants. Be polite and respectful when interacting with interview subjects. Let interview participants know the purpose of the research. Explain exactly how youll use their answers. Address terms of confidentiality if necessary. Thank participants after the interview and let them know what to expect next.
Tips For Transcribing A Qualitative Interview
Its best to transcribe and analyze a qualitative research interview right away. This helps you optimize future interviews. Transcribe the interview word for word. Note non-verbal interactions in your transcription. Interactions like pauses and laughter can provide deeper insights into responses.
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Straightforward Methods For Analyzing Qualitative Interview Data
To some qualitative data analysis may seem like a daunting task. Some quantitative researchers openly admit they would not know where to begin if given the job, and that the unfamiliar process scares them a bit. Unlike most quantitative methodologies, qualitative analysis does not follow a formula-like procedure that can be systematically and analytically applied. When we embark on a qualitative journey, we need to be prepared to work in a slightly more intuitive and not always tangible way. But that does not imply qualitative methodology lacks rigor. On the contrary it just achieves results in a different way to a quantitative study.
Do not let this posts title fool you, qualitative analysis is not an easy task. Often time-consuming and at times slightly chaotic, the researcher generally never knows where the study will take them. But, hey, thats also the beauty of the qualitative method and its hidden potential.
Reading interviews multiple times to get familiar with your data is where most qualitative researchers start. In qualitative research, we immerse ourselves into the study we do not first start to seek objectivity, but rather closeness. Remember, as a qualitative researcher you are the research tool.
Which method of analyzing to choose?
If you have conducted qualitative interviews, here are three methods that can be used to analyze your data:
Using computer software for data analysis
Prepare A Packet For Collaborative Mapping
When youre done coding your interviews, you should have a tab for each interviewees journey. To analyze insights of those interviews, youll need to print out each sheet so that your entire journey mapping team can have all of the customer insights in front of them when its time to map.
We encourage you to try to fit each customer journey on one sheet of legal paper. This will be tiny text, but its worth it!
If your customer journey is split over several sheets of paper, it can be really difficult to make sense of all of the stages and how they fit together. By printing everything on one page, youre able to hold someones entire journey in your hands.
Now that youve identified stages, captured details that are relevant to your learning goals, and printed out your insights your interviews are ready to be mapped!
Have questions about coding or advice from your own experience coding CX research? Id love to hear from you. or leave a comment below!
At Highland, we help our clients understand their customers and design digital products that fit their needs.Learn more about our Customer Experience services including customer journey mapping, design sprint facilitation, Jobs to Be Done research, and CX roadmaps.
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Categorize Your Codes With Coding Frames
Once you create your codes, you need to put them into a coding frame. A coding frame represents the organizational structure of the themes in your research. There are two types of coding frames: flat and hierarchical.
Flat Coding Frame
A flat coding frame assigns the same level of specificity and importance to each code. While this might feel like an easier and faster method for manual coding, it can be difficult to organize and navigate the themes and concepts as you create more and more codes. It also makes it hard to figure out which themes are most important, which can slow down decision making.
Hierarchical Coding Frame
Hierarchical frames help you organize codes based on how they relate to one another. For example, you can organize the codes based on your customers feelings on a certain topic:
Hierarchical framing supports a larger code frame and lets you organize codes based on organizational structure. It also allows for different levels of granularity in your coding.
Whether your code frames are hierarchical or flat, your code frames should be flexible. Manually analyzing survey data takes a lot of time and effort make sure you can use your results in different contexts.
Combine Categories And Sentiments To Draw Conclusions
Once youve sorted your data into categories and assigned sentiments, you can start comparing the numbers and drawing conclusions. For example, perhaps you see that out of the 500 Yelp reviews youve analyzed, 300 fall into the food price/negative sentiment section of your data. Thats a pretty clear indication that customers think your food is too expensive, and you may see an improvement in customer retention by dropping prices.
The three steps outlined above cover just the very basics of coding qualitative data, so you can understand the theory behind the analysis. In order to gain more detailed conclusions, youll likely need to dig deeper into the data by assigning more complex sentiment tags and breaking down the categories further. We cover some useful tips and a coding qualitative data example below.
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How To Code Qualitative Data
Now that weve looked at the main approaches to coding, the next question youre probably asking is how do I actually do it?. Lets take a look at the coding process, step by step.
Both inductive and deductive methods of coding typically occur in two stages: initial coding and line by line coding.
In the initial coding stage, the objective is to get a general overview of the data by reading through and understanding it. If youre using an inductive approach, this is also where youll develop an initial set of codes. Then, in the second stage , youll delve deeper into the data and organise it according to codes.
Lets take a look at these two stages of coding in more detail.
What Is Qualitative Content Analysis
Content analysis is a qualitative research analysis technique that enables you to interpret meaning from a body of text. There are 3 types of qualitative content analysis conventional, directed, and summative methods. Hseih and Shannon describe these methods in their paper, Three Approaches to Qualitative Content Analysis. This post is our summary and interpretation of their paper.
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Summarizing The Data Using A Storyline
After the first personâs data is coded, continue the process of coding for the second and third persons as well. Once new codes cease to appear, it can be considered that a sufficient amount of codes has been collected. Then you can move to the stage of summarizing the information into a storyline. The basic procedure is as follows.
- Group similar codes together, and put a category name to them: You may use post-it notes with only the code written on them to classify the codes using the KJ methodâ».
- Depict the causal relationships existing between the categories: While focusing on which events occur first, and which events occur later in the time axis, use a chart to express the relationship between categories for creating a storyline.
- Consider whether the storyline you created could become a research hypothesis for your research theme: Consider the difference between the things derived from the storyline and those defined in previous studies. In addition, consider whether these could become a new hypothesis, but also check whether the storyline you created is too obvious or common sense.
- KJ method: Of the numerous post-it notes with only the code written on them, organize similar notes into a number of groups, assigning titles to each group. After this, use a chart to illustrate the reciprocal/inclusive-relations between the groups, and summarize the relationship between groups.
What Types Of Coding Exist
There are 2 approaches to coding qualitative data: inductive and deductive. Youre probably familiar with these terms, but lets do a quick recap. If you have a set of ideas and assumptions that guide your research you can develop preliminary coding categories and search for them in your interview data. This way, youre testing theory and thus using a deductive coding approach.
On the other hand, if you start your coding process from scratch and aim to identify themes to create a theory youre using inductive coding. No matter which approach youre using, the coding procedure remains largely the same.
How To Analyze A Qualitative Interview
Analyze your qualitative research data early. That way, you can identify emerging themes to shape future interviews. Consider adding these to each interview report:
- The goal of the interview
- Details about the interview participant
- Questions asked, summarized responses and key findings
Relate the analysis to the goal of the qualitative research interview.
Simple Steps To Do Qualitative Analysis
If youve just completed a large surveying activity, forum conversation or just have a large amount of written feedback and comments to make sense of, then you might need to utilise qualitative analysis techniques.
Unpacking large amounts of qualitative data can be a daunting task but with a little preparation and some simple steps, drawing insights from you data can be made just that little bit easier.
In this article, we look at a simple process for organising and coding qualitative data.
The steps outlined below are especially useful if you have thoroughly planned your projects prior to engaging with your community.
I highly recommend our recent webinar with Dan Popping for a good overview of planning for online engagement.
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Deductive Coding Vs Inductive Coding
Before you start qualitative data coding, you need to decide which codes youll use.
What is Deductive Coding?
Deductive coding means you start with a predefined set of codes, then assign those codes to the new qualitative data. These codes might come from previous research, or you might already know what themes youre interested in analyzing. Deductive coding is also called concept-driven coding.
For example, lets say youre conducting a survey on customer experience. You want to understand the problems that arise from long call wait times, so you choose to make wait time one of your codes before you start looking at the data.
The deductive approach can save time and help guarantee that your areas of interest are coded. But you also need to be careful of bias when you start with predefined codes, you have a bias as to what the answers will be. Make sure you dont miss other important themes by focusing too hard on proving your own hypothesis.
What is Inductive Coding?
Inductive coding, also called open coding, starts from scratch and creates codes based on the qualitative data itself. You dont have a set codebook all codes arise directly from the survey responses.
Heres how inductive coding works:
How To Conduct Interviews In Qualitative Research
Qualitative research interviews are depth interviews. They elicit detailed feedback from your leads and customers. Unstructured interviews reveal why people react in a certain way or make certain decisions. According to The Hartford, qualitative research provides an anecdotal look into your business. That provides an important form of data.
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How To Analyze Interview Transcripts In Qualitative Research
Qualitative research is a critical part of any successful study. Unlike quantitative data, a qualitative analysis adds color to academic and business reports. Interview transcripts are among the best qualitative analysis resources availablebut you need the right methods to use them successfully.
As weve observed, interviews are crucial to getting less measurable data from direct sources. They allow researchers to provide relatable stories and perspectives, and even quote important contributors directly. Lots of qualitative data from interviews allows authors to avoid embellishment and maintain the integrity of their content as well.
As a researcher, you need to make the most of recorded interviews. Interview transcripts allow you to use the best qualitative analysis methods. Plus, you can focus only on tasks that add value to your research effort.