Müller Mixed Methods
Coachings, Workshops & Research in Qualitative Data Analysis
Qualitative data is as old (or young) as humankind itself. Every object, image, video and all unstructured text can be considered as “data” and be interpreted in a systematic way. If you are working with interviews, open survey data, Youtube comments, Twitter feeds, protocols, print media, diaries, letters or trial records then you are probably familiar with the difficulties of analysing and interpreting them systematically. In working with these unstructured or semi-structured documents, a systematic approach with qualitative data analysis can help!
What is qualitative data analysis?
It's not magic, it's qualitative data analysis!
In its essence, qualitative data analysis is all about structuring text (or images, video and audio) with your own analytical categories. You are looking for topics or themes within the text and attach short keywords, often called "codes" to the relevant segments that you have found. These codes help you first of all in finding your relevant text segments again, but they also allow you to quantify your results by counting the segments automatically.
Who cast the most weather spells in these documents? What is the difference between a male and a female witch? Where was that part when a bucket full of fish teeth was within a man's skull? All these questions are fairly easy to answer, as soon as you have left enough bread crumbs within the deep forest of qualitative data.
Hint: You can read much more about Qualitative Data Analysis on my blog Met-Hodos: (Re)considering the road of research and analysis.
Do I need research software?
The purpose of software is to make your life easier. If it does not do that, you do not need that software!
The computer is an expert in counting, searching and grouping but it can hardly tell your grandmother from a puppy dog. That’s why you are always needed! After all, you are a sense making machine! However, the computer can help you with that, but to learn any software always means to climb a barrier first. In many cases this effort pays off and the computer can turn into your most powerful research assistant. I would love to help you to have a look above that barrier first, so that you can make an informed decision weather climbing it is worth it or not.
So the answer is: maybe. Many techniques of qualitative data analysis are independent from using a MAC or PC. After all, a long time ago a certain Philipp Mayring started doing this only with pencils and a typewriter. Anyhow, your computer has much more to offer, than just streaming Netflix.
Hint: You can read more about the differences between the individual software programs here on my blog.
Does that make sense for my research?
If you do not have any qualitative data (but only numbers and tables), you do not need qualitative data analysis!
Qualitative data analysis is especially useful when you are dealing with unstructured or semi-structured data such as text, images, videos or audio. Furthermore, it is crucially important that thinking in categories, themes or "codes" makes sense in your methodology.
From my experience, I can tell that in many cases when we are dealing with unstructured data (we historians call them "sources" or "documents"), structuring them along content based categories can be of great help! However, the computer will never do the thinking for you, don't raise false hopes on that!
Hint: Never use software beyond the point of usefulness! You can read more on this here on my blog.
Who am I?
Historian, freelancer, software trainer, witchcraft researcher and more
Indeed, I am interested in many things, except for cars, stars or television. There can be little left, you say? Think twice! Most relevant for you is that I am a professional historian. Therefore, I have been chosen to extract meaning from the most stubborn and resilient qualitative "data" out there. I have been trained to understand people who are dead for more than 500 years and many people might think that they have nothing to say any more. So if you are struggling with understanding your online trolls, unemployed teachers or retired dog sitters, be at ease, I am glad to be of help! And a small piece of advice via mail or telephone you will always get for free!