Wednesday, 15 August 2012

How to Derive Meaning (Not Just Codes) From our Data: Ten Tips

I have recently been discussing the issue of making meaning from your data not just listing lots of themes with a couple of my students...trawling through your transcripts and coding similar phenomenon might be time consuming and important but in the end this type of coding is only a tool to help you think about the depth and complexity of what is really going on in the data.....the aim is to move from CATEGORISING to developing CONEPTS, to let higher order meaning emerge from your analysis.

Here are 10 tips I would recommend to help:

1. Go for a walk, untangle yourself from your data and just see what comes to you
2. Try telling someone what it all means in five minutes....you may already know how it hangs together
3. Draw lots of diagrams and pictures until one comes out that seems to fit
4. Talk to colleagues to get it out of your head and bounce it off someone else
5. Cross reference categories with demographics.
6. Have a look at Negative Cases or Outliers...they will tell you alot about the rest
7. Go to theories in the literature..do they kick start your thinking?
8. Summarise each of your participants findings into one paragraph, lay all of them out on the floor and then compare and contrast these, not the codes.
9. Struggle
10.and keep struggling!

REMEMBER..build an argument or a narrative...not a list!

Here is an incredibly good paper by the master, Pat Bazeley Research Support P/L and Australian Catholic University

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