chapter  9
26 Pages

Transforming Data

In the discussion of the “work” of data analysis in the previous chapter, I made a fairly strong argument against early or excessive coding because of the eff ects it can have upon the capacity to see beyond the codes and the enthusiasm you can muster for considering alternative angles of vision that might better illuminate the analytic problems you are thinking about. My motivation was to help you avoid the burden of having invested so much time in coding that you become unwilling to abandon your initial system, and also to keep your attention on the

inductive analytic capacity of your mind as the primary source of fuel for the analytic process. Despite the rhetoric that you might read in some research reports, fi ndings never “emerge” from the data on their own, and if they are to be worth something in the end, they always come about because a human mind has engaged strategically and constructively in the business of active analysis. One way of ensuring that you rise above the drudgery and keep your mind lively and in control is to fi nd ways to take delight in the process, to trigger your innate curiosity, and to follow the many lines of fascinating inquiry that your inductive processes illuminate. What you are trying to achieve is what May (1994) refers to as an acquired aptitude for “magic.” Here we’ll consider two ways of keeping your mind lively through the analytic process-using various techniques to avoid the tricky hazards along the pathway and sustaining momentum toward the goal.