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Using Qualitative Data Analysis Software By Michelle C. Bligh, Ph.D., Claremont Graduate University, March 18, 2005

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Using Qualitative Data Analysis Software
Michelle C. Bligh, Ph.D.
Claremont Graduate University
March 18, 2005
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Using Qualitative Data Analysis Software Michelle C. Bligh, Ph.D. Claremont Graduate University March 18, 2005

Why Qualitative Assessment? “ Study the box.”

“ Study the box.”

What is Qualitative Research? "Qualitative inquiry is an umbrella term for various philosophical orientations to interpretive research.” - Glesne and Peshkin (1992) "Qualitative research is a loosely defined category of research designs or models, all of which elicit verbal, visual, tactile, olfactory, and gustatory data in the form of descriptive narratives like field notes, recordings, or other transcriptions from audio- and videotapes and other written records and pictures or films.” - Preissle

"Qualitative inquiry is an umbrella term for various philosophical orientations to interpretive research.” - Glesne and Peshkin (1992)

"Qualitative research is a loosely defined category of research designs or models, all of which elicit verbal, visual, tactile, olfactory, and gustatory data in the form of descriptive narratives like field notes, recordings, or other transcriptions from audio- and videotapes and other written records and pictures or films.” - Preissle

Advantages of Qualitative Research Greater depth and detail Richness and holism Flexibility/lack of constraints Focus on naturally occurring, ordinary events in their natural settings Data are collected in close proximity to the situation Influences of context are not stripped away Allow emphasis on processes, of how and why rather than just what

Greater depth and detail

Richness and holism

Flexibility/lack of constraints

Focus on naturally occurring, ordinary events in their natural settings

Data are collected in close proximity to the situation

Influences of context are not stripped away

Allow emphasis on processes, of how and why rather than just what

Advantages of Qualitative Research (continued) Undeniability Lead to new integrations/interpretations Can avoid pre-judgments/halo effects Consistency Supplement, validate, explain, illuminate, or reinterpret quantitative data

Undeniability

Lead to new integrations/interpretations

Can avoid pre-judgments/halo effects

Consistency

Supplement, validate, explain, illuminate, or reinterpret quantitative data

Disadvantages of Qualitative Research Extremely time-consuming/labor intensive Data overload Subjectivity/researcher bias Reactivity Dependent on researcher’s attributes/skills Psychologically draining

Extremely time-consuming/labor intensive

Data overload

Subjectivity/researcher bias

Reactivity

Dependent on researcher’s attributes/skills

Psychologically draining

Sources of Data Open-ended questions Logs, journals, or diaries Observations Stories Case studies Individual ‘interviews’/Oral exams Discussion groups/Focus groups Etc.

Open-ended questions

Logs, journals, or diaries

Observations

Stories

Case studies

Individual ‘interviews’/Oral exams

Discussion groups/Focus groups

Etc.

Your Approach Depends On… 1. The focus of your study and the themes you want to address 2. The needs of those who will use the information 3. Your resources (time, energy, money, software available)

1. The focus of your study and the themes you want to address

2. The needs of those who will use the information

3. Your resources (time, energy, money, software available)

Qualitative Analysis (Miles & Huberman) Data reduction Selecting, focusing, simplifying Data display Creating organized, compressed representations of information Conclusion Drawing and Verification Deciding what things mean and testing them for plausibility/validity

Data reduction

Selecting, focusing, simplifying

Data display

Creating organized, compressed representations of information

Conclusion Drawing and Verification

Deciding what things mean and testing them for plausibility/validity

Coding Coding is analysis Codes are tags or labels for assigning units of meaning to the descriptive or inferential information compiled It is the meaning that matters Codes are used to retrieve and organize the chunks of information, so you can quickly find, pull out, and cluster the segments relating to a particular topic

Coding is analysis

Codes are tags or labels for assigning units of meaning to the descriptive or inferential information compiled

It is the meaning that matters

Codes are used to retrieve and organize the chunks of information, so you can quickly find, pull out, and cluster the segments relating to a particular topic

Types of Codes Descriptive : attributing a class of phenomena to a segment of text (e.g., spelling) Interpretive : include a more complex, underlying meaning (e.g., unsupported argument) Pattern : inferential and explanatory; group codes into a smaller number of themes or constructs; analogous to cluster and factor analysis in statistics (e.g., thoroughness)

Descriptive : attributing a class of phenomena to a segment of text (e.g., spelling)

Interpretive : include a more complex, underlying meaning (e.g., unsupported argument)

Pattern : inferential and explanatory; group codes into a smaller number of themes or constructs; analogous to cluster and factor analysis in statistics (e.g., thoroughness)

The process of coding Create a provisional “start list” Usually anywhere from 12 – 60 Get them on a single page for reference Make sure they are organized/structured Create code definitions Revise coding scheme Filling in: adding, reconstructing preexisting codes Extension: recoding with a new theme or insight Bridging: seeing new relationships Surfacing: identifying new categories

Create a provisional “start list”

Usually anywhere from 12 – 60

Get them on a single page for reference

Make sure they are organized/structured

Create code definitions

Revise coding scheme

Filling in: adding, reconstructing preexisting codes

Extension: recoding with a new theme or insight

Bridging: seeing new relationships

Surfacing: identifying new categories

The process of coding (cont.) Structure is key : codes should relate to one another, they should be part of a governing structure Structure includes larger, more conceptually inclusive codes, and smaller, more differentiated codes Pattern codes should represent a web of meaning that is grounded in the data

Structure is key : codes should relate to one another, they should be part of a governing structure

Structure includes larger, more conceptually inclusive codes, and smaller, more differentiated codes

Pattern codes should represent a web of meaning that is grounded in the data

Uses of Qualitative Software Data reduction Retrieving text that has pre-determined significance Text exploration Helping researcher recognize underlying themes of the text

Data reduction

Retrieving text that has pre-determined significance

Text exploration

Helping researcher recognize underlying themes of the text

Advantages of CAQDAS Makes the sheer volume of data more manageable Helps to selectively retrieve information Can summarize results in structured lists and tables Helps to evaluate the weight of supporting vs. non-supporting data Can report results in comparative ways Helps to provide linkages to other types of data and perspectives Can integrate qualitative and quantitative data

Makes the sheer volume of data more manageable

Helps to selectively retrieve information

Can summarize results in structured lists and tables

Helps to evaluate the weight of supporting vs. non-supporting data

Can report results in comparative ways

Helps to provide linkages to other types of data and perspectives

Can integrate qualitative and quantitative data

Types of CAQDAS Text retrieval Examples: the General Inquirer, CATA, TEXTPACK, WordStat, Diction, ZyINDEX, The Text Collector Text analysis Examples: Atlas/TI, ETHNOGRAPH, NUDIST

Text retrieval

Examples: the General Inquirer, CATA, TEXTPACK, WordStat, Diction, ZyINDEX, The Text Collector

Text analysis

Examples:

Atlas/TI,

ETHNOGRAPH,

NUDIST

How to Choose What kind of computer user am I? Am I choosing for one project or for many? What kind of projects and databases will I be working on? What kinds of analyses am I planning to do? How important is it to maintain close proximity to the data? What are your financial constraints/access to programs?

What kind of computer user am I?

Am I choosing for one project or for many?

What kind of projects and databases will I be working on?

What kinds of analyses am I planning to do?

How important is it to maintain close proximity to the data?

What are your financial constraints/access to programs?

Text Retrieval Programs Designed to search for, retrieve, and/or count words and phrases Search programs Used in preliminary data analysis to determine whether and where pre-specified words and phrases appear and in what context Content Analysis programs Take inventories (make frequency distributions) of all, or pre-specified, words contained in text

Designed to search for, retrieve, and/or count words and phrases

Search programs

Used in preliminary data analysis to determine whether and where pre-specified words and phrases appear and in what context

Content Analysis programs

Take inventories (make frequency distributions) of all, or pre-specified, words contained in text

Text Retrieval: Primary Questions What words are addressed in a text? Where are particular words used in a text? How do documents differ in terms of vocabulary usage? What concepts are addressed in a text? To what extent are concepts of interest addressed in a text?

What words are addressed in a text?

Where are particular words used in a text?

How do documents differ in terms of vocabulary usage?

What concepts are addressed in a text?

To what extent are concepts of interest addressed in a text?

Typical Features of Text Retrieval Programs Generate text frequency distributions Generate vocabulary comparisons among different texts Work with key-word lists Generate key-word in context lists (KWIC) Search for root words (innovat*) Generate words category counts and statistics Conduct proximity searches (w/i 5 words) Conduct Boolean operator searches (innovation if creativity not w/i 5 words)

Generate text frequency distributions

Generate vocabulary comparisons among different texts

Work with key-word lists

Generate key-word in context lists (KWIC)

Search for root words (innovat*)

Generate words category counts and statistics

Conduct proximity searches (w/i 5 words)

Conduct Boolean operator searches (innovation if creativity not w/i 5 words)

Text Analysis Programs Developed explicitly for the purposes of description, interpretation, and theory building Facilitate identifying and coding elements of theoretical interest, establishing relationships and building connections A.k.a. Code-and-Retrieve Programs (HyperQual2, Kwalitan, the Data Collector)/Code-Based Theory Builders (ATLAS/ti/NUDIST, Code-a-Text)

Developed explicitly for the purposes of description, interpretation, and theory building

Facilitate identifying and coding elements of theoretical interest, establishing relationships and building connections

A.k.a. Code-and-Retrieve Programs (HyperQual2, Kwalitan, the Data Collector)/Code-Based Theory Builders (ATLAS/ti/NUDIST, Code-a-Text)

Primary Questions How often do specific codes occur? How often do specific code sequences occur? Are code sequences indicative of themes? Are code linkages indicative of conceptual relationships?

How often do specific codes occur?

How often do specific code sequences occur?

Are code sequences indicative of themes?

Are code linkages indicative of conceptual relationships?

Primary Functions of Text Analysis Programs Attaching codes to segments of text Searching for and assembling coded segments of text Searching for code sequences (look for closely related or overlapping codes to identify patterns and relationships) Counting frequencies of codes, code sequences, or counter-evidence

Attaching codes to segments of text

Searching for and assembling coded segments of text

Searching for code sequences (look for closely related or overlapping codes to identify patterns and relationships)

Counting frequencies of codes, code sequences, or counter-evidence

Practical Issues Different types of programs can be used in concert or sequentially Text must be computer readable: transcription, scanning, or importing Special attention must be paid to formatting issues All CQDA programs still require interpretation on the part of the researcher

Different types of programs can be used in concert or sequentially

Text must be computer readable: transcription, scanning, or importing

Special attention must be paid to formatting issues

All CQDA programs still require interpretation on the part of the researcher

Practical Issues (continued) Reliability problems usually due to the ambiguity of word meanings, category definitions, or coding rules Construct validity : constructs should be correlated with other measures of the same construct Hypothesis validity : constructs should relate in theoretical ways to other constructs Face validity : constructs should appear to measure what they do Semantic validity : persons familiar with the language of the texts should agree that the list of words in a category have similar meanings

Reliability problems usually due to the ambiguity of word meanings, category definitions, or coding rules

Construct validity : constructs should be correlated with other measures of the same construct

Hypothesis validity : constructs should relate in theoretical ways to other constructs

Face validity : constructs should appear to measure what they do

Semantic validity : persons familiar with the language of the texts should agree that the list of words in a category have similar meanings

Advantages of CAQDAS Stability of the coding scheme leads to increased consistency Explicit coding rules yielding comparable results across multiple graders and over time Saves time, freeing instructor to focus on interpretation and explanation Easy manipulation of text to create different types of output and emphases Ability to process large amounts of data in less time and saves paper

Stability of the coding scheme leads to increased consistency

Explicit coding rules yielding comparable results across multiple graders and over time

Saves time, freeing instructor to focus on interpretation and explanation

Easy manipulation of text to create different types of output and emphases

Ability to process large amounts of data in less time and saves paper

Limitations of Text Retrieval Programs Lack of natural language processing capabilities (ambiguous concepts, broader context is lost) Insensitivity to negation, irony, tone Inability of researcher to provide a completely exhaustive listing of key words Inability of software to resolve references back and forth to words elsewhere in the text Can result in “word crunching”: transforming rich meanings into meaningless numbers

Lack of natural language processing capabilities (ambiguous concepts, broader context is lost)

Insensitivity to negation, irony, tone

Inability of researcher to provide a completely exhaustive listing of key words

Inability of software to resolve references back and forth to words elsewhere in the text

Can result in “word crunching”: transforming rich meanings into meaningless numbers

Limitations of Text Analysis Programs Initial time investment Initial monetary investment Output can be tricky for students Can lead to a tendency to focus on details rather than the big picture They don’t do the analysis for you!

Initial time investment

Initial monetary investment

Output can be tricky for students

Can lead to a tendency to focus on details rather than the big picture

They don’t do the analysis for you!

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