Skip to Main Content

EDUC.6922: Qualitative Research Methods for Practitioner Scholars

Data Analysis

Data analysis in qualitative research can be thought of as reading and interpreting the text. The memos and other interpretive work researchers create become additional texts for analysis. 

  • Analysis in qualitative research relies heavily upon the socially contextualized linguistic and cultural literacy skills (broadly defined) of the researcher. 
  • The researcher's embedded skills are coupled with methodological tools of contradiction that create alternative and challenging readings, allowing for new possibilities of understanding. 
  • In conducting analysis, qualitative researchers seek to decipher patteArtifactrns of meaning through such techniques as close or critical reading, distillation of text through fragmentation and reconstruction, visualization and modeling of emergent propositions. 
  • Qualitative researchers pay attention to presence and absence, pattern and anomaly, as they work their way through their materials. 
  • In qualitative research, analysis is conducted synchronously with data collection.


  • Qualitative researchers often use coding as a means of labeling, sorting, "chunking" into categories, and ultimately making meaning of the data.
  • Researchers may seek to achieve "saturation" first, that is, to code every codeable data point to ensure that the researcher sees a full picture and does not overlook or undervalue pieces of information. 
  • After saturation is achieved, the researcher continues to the next analytical steps such as pattern analysis, frequency analysis, and interpretive work. 



Coding and Developing Themes:

Dr. James Woodall explains coding with examples from his own data analysis. This demonstration uses different color highlighters for coding by hand. 

Writing Memos for Qualitative Research

If you cannot access the above video, you can watch it here: