Analysing qualitative data
Qualitative research produces large amounts of textual data in the form of transcripts and observational fieldnotes. The systematic and rigorous preparation and analysis of these data is time consuming and labour intensive. Data analysis often takes place alongside data collection to allow questions to be refined and new avenues of inquiry to develop. Textual data are typically explored inductively using content analysis to generate categories and explanations; software packages can help with analysis but should not be viewed as short cuts to rigorous and systematic analysis. High quality analysis of qualitative data depends on the skill, vision, and integrity of the researcher; it should not be left to the novice.