One of the questions I get most frequently from students upon their return from the field is “What now?”. They come back gloriously with tens of hours of interview recordings, pages after pages of ethnographic fieldnotes, and gigabytes of photos and news clippings, and they all say — understandably — that they feel overwhelmed by the challenge ahead of staying afloat and making headway in that sea of unstructured data.
RT @JessicaCalarco Doing qualitative research often feels like playing Jeopardy – you can see the answers (i.e., the patterns you find in your data), but you don’t always know the question (i.e., the problem those patterns solve). (21 December 2018)
I share with them well-established tips such as ease into it, embrace the messiness, keep an audit trail, put oneself in the reader’s [examiner’s] shoes, read what you want to write et cetera. These tips have all been highly appreciated, but then there are every now and then situations where students are still looking for something more concrete and readily usable in their research while I consciously try to be less prescriptive and more ‘Socratic’ (so to say). Those situations always feel to me like we are communicating back-scratching coordinates.
While I maintain that I shouldn’t be, and cannot be, too prescriptive, I thought I’d put together a nice ‘mixtape’ of resources for them. More will be added on.
For code-based theory building (as in GT)
- Life with and without coding: Two methods for early-stage data analysis in qualitative research aiming at causal explanations (Jochen Gläser & Grit Laudel, 2013, Forum: Qualitative Social Research 14(2), Art. 5)
- The Coding Manual for Qualitative Researchers (Johnny Saldara, 2015, 3rd ed.)
- “OK I’ve done all my coding. What’s next?” Err, didn’t you plan that already? (Christina Silver, Five Level QDA, 7 November 2017)
- Flexible coding of in-depth interviews: A twenty-first-century approach (Nicole M Deterding & Mary C Waters, 2018, Sociological Methods & Research)
- When coding doesn’t work, or doesn’t make sense: Synoptic units in qualitative data analysis (Nick Hopgood, 23 November 2018)
For thematic analysis
- Using thematic analysis in psychology (Virginia Braun & Victoria Clarke, 2008, Qualitative Research in Psychology 3(2): 77-101)
- Qualitative data analysis: Exploring themes, metaphors and stories (Catherine Cassell & Vicky Bishop, 2018, European Management Review)
For discourse analysis
- Not everything is a discourse (Dariusz Galasiński, 12 July 2017)
For ‘Big Qual’ analysis
- Big data, qualitative style: A breadth-and-depth method for working with large amounts of secondary qualitative data (Emma Davidson et al., 2018, Quality & Quantity; also as a podcast)
- Analysing large volumes of complex qualitative data: Reflections from a group of international experts (Susie Weller et al., 2019, NCRM Working Papers)
- Big Qual Analysis Research Hub