chapter  5
22 Pages

Linking qualitative and quantitative data analysis

ByJennifer Mason

MAKING QUALITATIVE DATA MANAGEABLE My discussion of data analysis begins by drawing a distinction between the processes of making data manageable-or amenable to analysis-on the one hand, and actually developing an analysis on the other. The first set of activities usually involves a variety of indexing and retrieval systems which researchers develop to help them get a handle on their data set. The second set of activities is more likely to entail going on to do some further creative work on the products of the first, in order to develop the analysis. In practice, the distinction between the two sets of activities becomes blurred, not least because devising indexing systems and deciding how to index different parts of the data set require the researcher to engage in analytical and creative thinking. But it is useful to treat the two sets of activities as distinct because this helps to underline the important point that, although techniques like indexing and retrieval provide materials with which an analysis can be created and crafted, they do not represent the analysis in and of themselves.