Qualitative data analysis reveals patterns and themes from the large volume of data generated by qualitative research. It is useful for gaining detailed understanding of social phenomena and individual experiences, perceptions and behaviours. However, it is often seen as a mysterious and complex stage of the research process. There are also challenges in terms of how researchers conduct analysis and the steps that they need to follow.
This introductory course provides participants with the skills to conduct qualitative data analysis. While providing an overview of different analytical approaches, the focus in our activities will be on thematic analysis. It provides an introduction to qualitative data analysis. It explores ways of organising and analysing qualitative data, and the practicalities of doing so. Through a practical exercise where we analyse qualitative interview data, participants will be able to gain experience of conducting their own qualitative data analysis by focusing on thematic analysis.
By the end of the course, participants will have knowledge of various methods and theories of qualitative data analysis and how it differs from quantitative analysis. They will be able to choose an appropriate data analysis technique for different forms of qualitative data. They will also be able to conduct their own thematic analysis, and organise data for analysis.
- Understand the principles of qualitative data analysis.
- Have knowledge of the theories and methods of qualitative data analysis.
- A practical exercise will enable participants to be able to organise data, code and categorise.
- Be able to conduct thematic analysis of an interview transcript.
- Be aware of the importance of rigour and the role of reliability and validity.
- Have an awareness of the importance of reflexivity in interpreting and analysing qualitative data.
- Understand the pros and cons of manual analysis.
During the course we will cover:
- How qualitative data analysis differs from quantitative analysis.
- The principles of qualitative analysis.
- Methods and theories of qualitative data analysis, i.e. grounded theory, thematic analysis, framework analysis, narrative analysis.
- Organising your data, i.e. conceptualising, coding and categorising.
- Practical activity: conducting a thematic analysis.
- Ensuring rigour and transparency in your analysis.
- The role of reflexivity and ethics in analysis.
Who will benefit
This introductory course will be of value to researchers who already have a basic understanding of qualitative research methods but who wish to delve into the method of qualitative data analysis in more depth. It provides a basic overview of the principles of qualitative analysis and also more in-depth knowledge of how to conduct thematic analysis.
Dr Karen Lumsden is a trainer in qualitative methods and a research consultant. She has held a number of academic posts including Assistant Professor in Criminology at the University of Nottingham and Associate Professor at the University of Leicester. She has a PhD in Sociology from the University of Aberdeen. Karen has over 15 years’ experience teaching qualitative methods including at the Universities of Aberdeen, Bristol, Glasgow, Essex, Auckland, Kingston University, and for the SRA. She has designed and delivered training for police constabularies, government departments, and research consultancies. She is on the Editorial Board of Qualitative Research.
This course contributes 6 hours to the MRS CPD programme