Qualitative Data Analysis

Qualitative data analysis lets you find patterns and themes in your data. Qualitative data analysis is the process of examining qualitative data to find an explanation for a specific phenomenon.


The challenging part of qualitative data analysis is that it can take many different forms depending on what you’re trying to accomplish.


In broad terms, most qualitative data analysis is either based on a deductive approach or inductive approach.


With a deductive approach, the analyst or someone else has already determined a structure for the data and then data is grouped and analyzed according to the structure. This makes it straightforward and the easier approach since you’re normally determining the categories up front.


An inductive approach to qualitative data analysis is less structured so it normally takes more time, but is also more thorough. This approach is used when you don’t know as much about what you’re researching or analyzing.


Regardless of which approach you take, there are 5 key steps you can follow.

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