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31 Mar Qualitative analysis of interview data: A step-by-step guide

The content applies to qualitative data analysis in general. Do not forget to share this Youtube link with your friends.

The steps are also described in writing below (Click Show more):

STEP 1, reading the transcripts
1.1. Browse through all transcripts, as a whole.
1.2. Make notes about your impressions.
1.3. Read the transcripts again, one by one.
1.4. Read very carefully, line by line.

STEP 2, labeling relevant pieces
2.1. Label relevant words, phrases, sentences, or sections.
2.2. Labels can be about actions, activities, concepts, differences, opinions, processes, or whatever you think is relevant.
2.3. You might decide that something is relevant to code because:
*it is repeated in several places;
*the interviewee explicitly states that it is important;
*you have read about something similar in reports, e.g. scientific articles;
*it reminds you of a theory or a concept;
*or for some other reason that you think is relevant.

You can use preconceived theories and concepts, be open-minded, aim for a description of things that are superficial, or aim for a conceptualization of underlying patterns. It is all up to you.

It is your study and your choice of methodology. You are the interpreter and these phenomena are highlighted because you consider them important. Just make sure that you tell your reader about your methodology, under the heading Method. Be unbiased, stay close to the data, i.e. the transcripts, and do not hesitate to code plenty of phenomena. You can have lots of codes, even hundreds.

STEP 3, decide which codes are the most important, and create categories by bringing several codes together
3.1. Go through all the codes created in the previous step. Read them, with a pen in your hand.
3.2. You can create new codes by combining two or more codes.
3.3. You do not have to use all the codes that you created in the previous step.
3.4. In fact, many of these initial codes can now be dropped.
3.5. Keep the codes that you think are important and group them together in the way you want.
3.6. Create categories. (You can call them themes if you want.)
3.7. The categories do not have to be of the same type. They can be about objects, processes, differences, or whatever.
3.8. Be unbiased, creative and open-minded.
3.9. Your work now, compared to the previous steps, is on a more general, abstract level. You are conceptualizing your data.

STEP 4, label categories and decide which are the most relevant and how they are connected to each other
4.1. Label the categories. Here are some examples:

Adaptation (Category)
Updating rulebook (sub-category)
Changing schedule (sub-category)
New routines (sub-category)

Seeking information (Category)
Talking to colleagues (sub-category)
Reading journals (sub-category)
Attending meetings (sub-category)

Problem solving (Category)
Locate and fix problems fast (sub-category)
Quick alarm systems (sub-category)

4.2. Describe the connections between them.
4.3. The categories and the connections are the main result of your study. It is new knowledge about the world, from the perspective of the participants in your study.

STEP 5, some options
5.1. Decide if there is a hierarchy among the categories.
5.2. Decide if one category is more important than the other.
5.3. Draw a figure to summarize your results.

STEP 6, write up your results
6.1. Under the heading Results, describe the categories and how they are connected. Use a neutral voice, and do not interpret your results.
6.2. Under the heading Discussion, write out your interpretations and discuss your results. Interpret the results in light of, for example:
*results from similar, previous studies published in relevant scientific journals;
*theories or concepts from your field;
*other relevant aspects.

STEP 7 Ending remark
Nb: it is also OK not to divide the data into segments. Narrative analysis of interview transcripts, for example, does not rely on the fragmentation of the interview data. (Narrative analysis is not discussed in this tutorial.)

Further, I have assumed that your task is to make sense of a lot of unstructured data, i.e. that you have qualitative data in the form of interview transcripts. However, remember that most of the things I have said in this tutorial are basic, and also apply to qualitative analysis in general. You can use the steps described in this tutorial to analyze:
*notes from participatory observations;
*web pages;
*or other types of qualitative data.

STEP 8 Suggested reading
Alan Bryman’s book: ‘Social Research Methods’ published by Oxford University Press.

Steinar Kvale’s and Svend Brinkmann’s book ‘InterViews: Learning the Craft of Qualitative Research Interviewing’ published by SAGE.

Text and video (including audio) © Kent Löfgren, Sweden

  • Maria Ruiz
    Posted at 12:09h, 31 March

    I'm currently working on my honors thesis and have completed my qualitative study, but was having trouble organizing my paper and feeling lost on where/how to include my interview data. It is 3AM, and though I'm tired and have a lot more to do than I thought, at least I will be confident that I am turning in a somewhat decent draft to my mentor soon. Thank you so much for your help!

  • eyowattup
    Posted at 12:09h, 31 March

    this is amazing how do i reference? ahaha

  • jackie
    Posted at 12:09h, 31 March

    You have helped to simplify what I already thought but doubted was legit. Ready to proceed with my analysis thanks to your invaluable help from your tutorial

  • pixxienix
    Posted at 12:09h, 31 March

    Your voice is ASMR for researchers – I can't thank you enough for clarifying and calming in one go.

  • Cassandra Stevens
    Posted at 12:09h, 31 March

    Really helped me with analysing my interview answers for my masters dissertation! Thanks

  • savi3sounds
    Posted at 12:09h, 31 March

    very helpful. thank you for making this video

  • Usama Ali
    Posted at 12:09h, 31 March

    Can we say We develop a scale after thematic Analysis, but before Pilot study?? As i am going to conduct a research for my thesis. I will do thematic Analysis, Then thems will be counvert into Scale items/scale. But I am not interesting to do pilot study for thesis work, Is that right or Should I go for Pilot study as well???? Plz give you valuable suggestions.

  • Leonora Çetta
    Posted at 12:09h, 31 March

    Thank you so much for sharing this tutorial, Mr. Kent. It was crystal clear and easy to comprehend. All the best for you!

  • Francis Wargirai
    Posted at 12:09h, 31 March

    Thank you so much.

  • Mohib Faiz
    Posted at 12:09h, 31 March

    Thank you! Helpful video, but I am still a bit confused. You say that this is a basic guide for qualitative analysis of interview data, but it seems like it contains a thematic analysis as well (in step 3, create categories). Is this correctly understood? If yes, does that mean that qualitative analysis of interview data always contains a thematic analysis, except for narrative analysis as you mention in this video?

  • Elaia Raj
    Posted at 12:09h, 31 March

    I would like to say thank you for this very short and precise video.. I found it very useful. Keep up the great work !

  • nein 3
    Posted at 12:09h, 31 March

    Monosound. So retro.

  • Home-made Laparoscopy
    Posted at 12:09h, 31 March

    This is a fantastic video. Nice and concise and I like how it is broken down into steps. This is just what I needed.

  • Grace Mtavangu
    Posted at 12:09h, 31 March

    You're such a wonderful teacher!

  • Ella F
    Posted at 12:09h, 31 March

    This has been extremely practical and useful.

    Posted at 12:09h, 31 March

    Thank you so much.God bless

  • gudrabean
    Posted at 12:09h, 31 March

    Simplified and excellent

  • AangBow
    Posted at 12:09h, 31 March

    You are an actual hero

  • Maha ali
    Posted at 12:09h, 31 March

    Thank you for your effort. it is so organized and easy to understand 🙂

  • Maria
    Posted at 12:09h, 31 March

    You are a lifesaver! Really nice put, simply written! Blessings!

  • Liza Dixon
    Posted at 12:09h, 31 March

    Sitting on a huge pile of data right now. This video is so simple and so clear. Thank you!

  • aby tellas
    Posted at 12:09h, 31 March

    Thank you Mr. Lofgren, I was actually searching for an apt one and its like I asked for a flower, you offered a garden, Thank you once again

  • Jamil Idires
    Posted at 12:09h, 31 March

    Thank you. liked your simple and relaxed voice

  • Brenda Ayugi
    Posted at 12:09h, 31 March

    Thank you Kent, I will definitely do this, you make it easier than it seems.

  • Winona Liu
    Posted at 12:09h, 31 March

    it really helps me with my dissertation.

  • deepika vinaykiya
    Posted at 12:09h, 31 March

    Kent, can you please explain a difference between thematic analysis and affinity diagram? It will be of great help to complete my master degree.

  • MyCoolHat
    Posted at 12:09h, 31 March

    Wonderful tutorial. As an aside, someone get that unintentional asmr guy on this!

  • Paloma Vejarano
    Posted at 12:09h, 31 March

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • victor kankhokwe
    Posted at 12:09h, 31 March

    simply delivered but too loaded with sense !

  • Richard Prins
    Posted at 12:09h, 31 March

    Thank you, very clear and calm

  • Jo Hawke
    Posted at 12:09h, 31 March

    As a second-semester PhD student, I can say that this is very informative, useful, and easy to understand. Thank you, Dr. Löfgren!

  • Sam G
    Posted at 12:09h, 31 March

    excellent video…thank you:)

  • Rogier Happel
    Posted at 12:09h, 31 March

    Thank you so much! I'm in the middle of the qualitative research of my Master thesis and this clear construction helps me get familiar with the steps I have to take!

  • Nick Dalton
    Posted at 12:09h, 31 March

    This is very helpful Kent. I use it in one of my classes. I've probably shown it to a few hundred students at this point. Thank you.

  • DaveHuk01
    Posted at 12:09h, 31 March

    I am moving job roles [I hope] and having knowledge of Thematic Analysis is a key point for the new potential role. Thank you so much for this, my friend. 🙂

  • Kshitij Jain
    Posted at 12:09h, 31 March

    Very well described. Your coverage was exhaustive and succinct.

  • Foncha Anang Emmerencia
    Posted at 12:09h, 31 March

    quite interesting and stress relieving. thanks

  • hamza khan
    Posted at 12:09h, 31 March

    Sound like zlatan

  • Veronica Williams
    Posted at 12:09h, 31 March

    Thank you this is very helpful!

  • Shardob J
    Posted at 12:09h, 31 March

    Tack för det!

    Posted at 12:09h, 31 March

    Great tutorial!

  • Mr Stepper
    Posted at 12:09h, 31 March

    this really helped me alot and saved me so much of time searching for articles

  • Clyde Griffin
    Posted at 12:09h, 31 March

    Thank you, Mr. Lofgren

  • Su Nam (Kevin) Jang
    Posted at 12:09h, 31 March

    Brief and informative, what an excellent video!