Chapter 15

Analyzing Qualitative Data

Research inevitably produces a lot of information: not just notes, but audio files, transcripts, sketches, and video. Add collages, maps, and other artifacts from interviews, and you’re facing what we call “the wall of data.”

Faced with that wall, it’s easy to panic. Suddenly, the sheer amount of information isn’t inspiring—it’s terrifying. To scale that wall, you can’t necessarily rely on the tools that helped so much in analyzing quantitative survey data. No, you’re interested in rich accounts of people’s behaviors, rationales, values, and personal characteristics. This kind of information is not particularly suited to statistical analysis. How to make sense of it all? Where to start?

This chapter will ...

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