Thursday, October 29, 2015

Week #9 Blog

Essential Question: How will you go about making sense of your data?

“Collection and analysis should be a simultaneous process in qualitative research” (Merriam & Tisdell, 2015, pp. 195). I think this might be the main thing that stuck with me this week. It seems obvious, and was something I was already considering. The problem was all of my other duties have been interfering with the amount of time I can put into my research. I think this statement really made me build in some time to look at my data and try to start coding it. The first step of analysis will be to get familiar with my data. This means I need to read and re-read it (Taylor-Powell & Renner, 2003, pp.2). “Think of yourself as having a conversation with the data— asking questions of it, making comments to it, and so on” (Merriam & Tisdell, 2015, pp. 204). I found this statement to be very humorous and true. This will help me to code and interpret data as I go.

“Coding is nothing more than assigning some sort of shorthand designation to various aspects of your data so that you can easily retrieve specific pieces of the data” (Merriam & Tisdell, 2015, pp. 199). I have been trying to sort the tweets my students have been posting. This is a very tedious job, and I have come up with the plan of cutting and pasting for this. I have 4 main categories. I don’t think I could come up with any fewer. Merriam and Tisdell (2015) recommend using fewer categories because it makes it easier to share your results. (pp. 214)
Merriam and Tisdell (2015) also note that the categories should represent the purpose of your study (pp. 204).

I plan to use content analysis where I will code for certain words and then interpret their meaning, as opposed thematic analysis. ("Analyze Qualitative Data Pell Institute", 2015). “After data has been collected, you will need to undergo a data reduction process in order to identify and focus in on what is meaningful” ("Analyze Qualitative Data Pell Institute", 2015). I do not plan to do much data reduction because I have not recorded every little thing. But I will have to do some reduction to make my data a little more manageable.
Near the end of chapter 9, the discussion turned to using computers to sort data. “The computer program only helps as an organizing or categorizing tool, and does not do the analysis for the researcher” (Merriam & Tisdell, 2015, pp. 221). Computers are also a great way to store your information and to create a backup copy. I have become a huge fan of using google for virtually everything and I don’t think I will change for this research project. Another great aspect of using computers is the ability to create visual representations. It is also much easier to change things around (Reademaker, Grace & Curda, 2012) .                                                                    


Analyze Qualitative Data Pell Institute. (2015). Retrieved October 30, 2015, from

Merriam, Sharan B.; Tisdell, Elizabeth J. (2015, July 6). Qualitative Research: A Guide to Design and Implementation (JOSSEY-BASS HIGHER & ADULT EDUCATION SERIES). Wiley. Kindle Edition.

Rademaker, L., Grace, E., & Curda, S. (2012). Using Computer-assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Software (CAQDAS) to Re-examine Traditionally Analyzed Data: Expanding our Understanding of the Data and of Ourselves as Scholars. The Qualitative Report, 17(43), 1-11. Retrieved from

Taylor-Powell, E., & Renner, M. (2003). Analyzing Qualitative Data.University of Wisconsin-Extension. Retrieved from

The Cloud-Or...No, Your Text Analysis Does Not Get Wet When It Rains... (n.d.). Retrieved October 30, 2015, from


  1. I have been using google for everything the past couple years as well. It made my life so much easier last night when I was putting student's data into an individual document for each because I could just copy and paste, just like you can easily do with your twitter posts. I like how you said that when you analyze your data you have to have a conversation with the data, because I just naturally already do that, I'll be sitting in my recliner looking over the days observation and discussing it with myself, maybe that's normal with data, and I'm not just crazy.

    1. Definitely not crazy! I totally talk to myself. Sometimes others are around and get confused. They usually think I am talking to them and then I have to explain that I was really just talking out loud. I have thought about copying and pasting for Twitter, but I wanted to actually have the data to move around. After physically cutting up the strips I think copying and pasting would be easier. I may try that next.

  2. Sara- This is a very good first step of analysis will be to get familiar with my data. This is what I need to do. I am sorting though now an trying to become familiar and organize my data. This is also good to know that the categories should represent the purpose of your study. I need to figure out what my categories are. I was thinking about using the computer to create a spreadsheet of some of my data. I will have the number I will have to figure that out. I think it will be better to look at a graph and see results than reading about it. Like your cartoon as well! :)

  3. I have to tell you that I love the little cartoon you included. It gave me a chuckle! I also use Google a lot because I have a computer at home and a computer at school. I don't care to haul my computers back and forth. It makes it so much easier to just use Google and know that I can access my documents easily no matter where I am or which computer I am using.

    1. Same here. I use both google and dropbox all of the time. It save me the hassle of finding the computer I saved my work to.

  4. "Merriam and Tisdell (2015) recommend using fewer categories because it makes it easier to share your results. (pp. 214)" I am also finding it hard to limit the amount of categories I am using. I am hoping that as more and more data comes in, the amount my categories will shrink and not grow.