Qualitative Data Analysis

Qualitative Data Analysis

Course Instructor: Dr. Deirdre Kelly

Qualitative data analysis (QDA) involves both a disciplined use of intuition and introspection as well as a systematic sense-making of various forms of “data” (e.g., field notes based on participant observation, interviews, photos, or documents).  There are many ways to produce the coherent stories that are the end result of qualitative data analysis.  To date, however, qualitative researchers have been better at writing about the dilemmas and tensions that arise in field work or in representing the research than they have been at elucidating the steps in between.  Thus, although analysis occurs at every phase of qualitative inquiry, this mini-course will focus primarily on the middle steps of the QDA process.

Across the five modules in this mini-course, I discuss a variety of tools, strategies, and heuristic devices–but provide no magic solutions or guaranteed recipes.  I emphasize the need for, and importance of, ongoing reflexivity as well as offer a pragmatic, flexible, and iterative approach to QDA.  My examples draw inspiration primarily from ethnography, reflexive thematic analysis, narrative analysis, and counter-storytelling.

The five modules that comprise the mini-course address such topics as: meanings of data analysis and coding, analysis techniques, the uses and abuses of computer software, the ethics and politics of data analysis, ways of presenting data, and writing as a method of inquiry.

Who might benefit:

The primary audience for this mini-course consists of magistral and doctoral students who plan to conduct, or are in the midst of doing, a qualitative empirical study for their thesis or dissertation.  The strategies described might make the most sense to those of you who have already produced or identified qualitative data that you plan to analyze.  If you are earlier on in your studies, you might consider using this mini-course as the basis for a directed study course (EDST 580) with your research supervisor or other suitable faculty member.  Alternatively, you might use this as a set of self-study tools while writing your research proposal.  It can also be used by students as a refresher when you are writing the narrative report of your research.

How this mini-course works:
To get the most out of each module, we recommend you do the following:

  • Read the recommended materials before watching the video lectures
  • Watch the video lectures
  • Look at the Learning Activities in Modules 1 and 3
  • Use the suggested assignments in full, or modify to create your own
  • Consult the References section in the Syllabus when needed

IMPORTANT LOGIN INFORMATION: This mini-course is hosted on Canvas. Students with a Campus Wide Login (CWL) can self-enroll.  Please enroll by clicking the “Enroll now” button below: