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Qualitative Analysis In Education: Free Of Common Mistakes

Qualitative Analysis in Education

qualitative analysis in educationQualitative analysis including qualitative risk analysis or qualitative analysis for social scientists is a method of research that involves using words as data as opposed to numbers. The aim is to get to the “why” and “how” of something as opposed to how many and how much. Data is collected in a number of different ways, depending on the research question. Qualitative analysis is useful in a number of different fields. The social sciences, healthcare and medical industries have found that qualitative research methods are effective in a number of different situations. Education also makes good use of quantitative analysis as well as teaching it.

Starting the Qualitative Analysis Process

There are specific steps that should be followed when conducting qualitative analysis. In education the steps are the same as those taken in other fields. The first thing that must be done is to come up with a quantitative research design

  1. Determine the research question – What is it that the research is meant to answer.
  2. Develop the research protocol that will be followed. The research protocol outlines the entire project and will serve as a map to guide you through the process. The research protocol will consist of:Aims and objectives – What it is that you are going to do, broken into measurable objectives.
  3. Background – Why this is an important and relevant question, and what is already known on the topic.
  4. Methods – How you will conduct the research. Site, participants and methods for data collection and analysis will be included here
  5. Ethical issues – Any ethical issues will need to be addressed.
  6. Resources – What the project will cost. All equipments and personnel
  7. Time scale – How long the project will take and some key milestones
  8. Dissemination/output – Type of reports and who will be targeted

 Qualitative Data Collection

Depending on the subject there are several methods of qualitative data collection that may be used. Those methods include:

  • Existing documents – This could be anything like reports, handbooks, websites, movies and other media
  • Interviews – Interviews may be structured with set questions that wont be deviated from, unstructured that use open-ended questions that allow the respondent to tell stories, or semi-structured which is somewhere in between.
  • Observation – Collection of data by watching. This is the most widely used method of data collection in qualitative research. Observation may be reactive where participants are aware of the observer, non-reactive when participants are unaware of the observer or be when there is interaction between the observer and the participants which is known as participant observation.

After data collection is complete the next step is the actual qualitative analysis. In education a number of different methods of qualitative analysis are used and taught.

Data Analysis in Qualitative Research

There are many methods for the qualitative analysis of data. The method used will depend somewhat on the type of data being analyzed and how the results will be used. Qualitative data analysis includes the following methods:

  • Thematic analysis – All data is examined and common issues that recur are noted and main themes are identified.
  • Coding – An interpretive method of organizing data. The resulting interpretation can be introduced in some quantitative methods. Coding is often used with other qualitative methods.
  • Grounded theory – An approach that develops a theory from data collected instead of applying a theory to the data.

Qualitative analysis is a useful tool in many disciplines. Information regarding statistics in education can be found at the National Center For Education Statistics at this address http://www.nces.ed.gov/ .

Today you can get the best qualitative analysis in education!