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Informal Essay, 2 pages (500 words)

Qualitative data of informal interviews

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This method is ideal for use in data collection when there are several research questions to be answered. Such an approach as this produces quite a huge amount of textual data for analysis and Qualitative analysis is one of the most challenging steps in the entire process of qualitative research.
The first step in carrying out a qualitative analysis of informal or semi-structured interview data is to read carefully the transcripts while making notations in the margins (Fields, 2008, p. 183-193). These printed copies of interview transcripts are useful for analysis before they can be entered into the database of the software. It is advisable to break the long respondent soliloquies into single paragraphs in order to reflect the transition from one idea to another. In case one is not using a computer software package for analysis, it would be easier to insert line numbers onto every page of the transcripts to help in referencing in the course of the analysis.
The second step entails developing the observations into preliminary interpretive and descriptive categories based on evidence that is presented in the transcripts, the conceptual or theoretical framework used in guiding the research, as well as one’s literature review (Fields, 2008, p. 183-193). Observations made in the first step are extended until possibilities and implications are played out in full. It is prudent at this stage or level to examine additional transcripts in order to determine whether the notion expressed is uniform in the remainder of the sample. Here, there is more engagement with the computer software packages for analysis where documents are entered into the system, and a memo written for every one of them. The memos are derived from the researcher’s field notes, as well as any thoughts they have had concerning the respondent since the interview’s date.
The third step of analyzing the qualitative data collected from informal, semi-structured interviews consists of a thorough examination of the preliminary codes developed to further review the interview text (Fields, 2008, p. 183-193). This is done in order to develop pattern codes and identify connections. Whatever is observed in the first two stages is then developed relative to other observations. The fourth step of the data analysis involves determining basic themes through an examination of clusters of comments made by the respondents, as well as memos made by the researcher. A theme is a statement of meaning, which runs through most or all of the pertinent data or one in the minority carrying heavy factual or emotional impact. Finally, the themes from all interviews are examined in order to delineate predominant themes that are contained in the data (Fields, 2008, p. 183-193). These themes will serve as answers to the research questions, as well as forming the basis on which the data will be written up. At this point, the researcher checks their emergent themes against the data and discusses the general properties of thought, as well as actions in the group under study.

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