Introduction to qualitative analysis

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					          Qualitative analysis
By the end of the next two sessions you should be
  able to:
• evaluate different types of qualitative analyses
  you read, based on an understanding of their
  aims and methods
• select the type of analysis you would need for a
  particular purpose, based on an understanding
  of its methods, advantages and disadvantages
• carry out a basic thematic or content analysis of
  qualitative data
        Qualitative analysis 1:
         analysis of meaning
Structure of this session
Introduction to thematic and content analysis
Practice coding
Introduction to:
- Phenomenological analysis
- Grounded theory analysis (with practice
Thematic coding refers to any method of
  categorising segments of qualitative data into
  meaningful themes
Content analysis is a rigorous form of thematic
  coding that should normally have good inter-
  rater reliability; codes can then be used as basis
  for quantitative analysis
Available published examples:
H.Frith & K.Gleeson (2004). Clothing and embodiment: men
   managing body image and appearance. Psychology of men and
   masculinity. 5, 40-48.
C.V.Caldicott, K.A.Dunn & R.M.Frankel (2005). Cam patients tell when
   they are unwanted? "Turfing" in residential training. Patient
   Education & Counselling, 56, 104-111.
            Thematic coding
Can be used as EITHER
a) a means of reducing or summarising the
  data (‘factual coding’; usually realist and
  content analysis)
b) a means of indexing the data (‘referential
  coding’; usually interpretive and
  constructivist analysis)

In practice, themes serve to identify, label and
  interpret features of data - simultaneously
  describe and organise.
         Thematic coding
Thematic coding can be used for any
  qualitative analytic approach

Thematic coding can use any of the
   procedures of content analysis but:
a) reliability less important (as no
   quantitative analysis used) and
b) usually adds more interpretation,
   based on context of themes identified
            Content analysis
Content analysis is a particular kind of
  thematic analysis which involves counting
  instances of particular occurrences, which
  can be anything of interest:
• a) a particular word or phrase, e.g. stress,
  value for money
• b) a semantic (meaning) category, e.g.
  reference to an event, object, concept –
  stress = worry, strain etc.
• c) a type of utterance, e.g. adjective, verb,
  laughter, silence
           Content analysis
Interpretation may be based on:
• frequency of occurrences
  (e.g. in different samples, or at different
• patterns of co-occurrence
  (e.g. ‘Boolean operators’, cluster
• sequence of occurrences
  How is coding carried out?
Defining coding units
Before coding can commence must decide on
 unit of analysis, which should be ‘most
 meaningful and productive units that are
 efficiently and reliably identifiable’
 (Krippendorf, 1980)

Unit of analysis may be:
• entire interview or ‘narrative’
• word, line of text
• ‘meaning unit’, ‘sentence’ etc.
                Developing codes
Code may be:
• inductive (from data) or deductive (from theory)
• manifest or latent

Must choose between coding each text segment just
 once, or allowing segments to have several codes

Code development normally involves collaborative
  process of:
• immersion in data, e.g. repeatedly reading
• generating tentative codes
• applying and developing codes - refining,
  elaborating, defining, rejecting, splitting
• testing codes for reliability (optional for thematic
      Developing a coding manual
A good coding manual:

a) serves as a ‘paper-trail’ for verification of the

b) makes transparent to the reader the
  relationship between codes and data;

c) makes explicit the processes involved in the
  construction of the analysis, and the
  presentation of the interpretation.
          Coding manual
Coding manual should consist of:
• label/name for each theme
• definition of what theme
  concerns/name means
• description of how to decide when
  theme occurs
• qualifications, elaborations and
• positive and negative examples
  Determining consistency in coding
Can establish consistency/variability in coding:
• by same coder on two occasions
• by two coders who have collaboratively developed
• by independent coder using coding manual

Calculate agreement by Cohen’s Kappa or by formula:

% agreement =           number of times both coders agreed
                        number of times coding possible

N.B. Rare codes likely to have low reliability for statistical reasons
  Using SPSS to calculate Cohen’s Kappa:
              entering data
Enter data into SPSS data page with each coder as a variable and
    each bit of text as a case down the left hand side.
If you are calculating the overall Kappa for a complete set of codes give
    each code a number, and enter the number each coder gave for
    each bit of text (N.B. SPSS cannot calculate Kappa for more than
    two raters).
    Coder 1         Coder 2
    1               1
    3               3
    2               2
    2               1
    1               1
If you have given some bits of text more than one code you cannot
    enter multiple values so you must calculate Kappa for each code
    separately, entering 1 if the code has been coded as present or 0 if
    it has not. You can also do this if you wish to calculate separate
    reliabilities for each code (e.g. to see which codes are reliable or
  Using SPSS to calculate Cohen’s Kappa:
         carrying out the analysis
To get SPSS to compute Kappa, click on:
Descriptive Statistics
  enter one coder as the column and the other as the row
  tick the box next to Kappa

The Kappa value for the sample data I have given should
  be .69 – you can use this example to check you are
  doing this right the way.
           Coding exercise
Deductively code text from interview with a
   woman describing dizziness into
   Leventhal’s original illness representation
1. Identity (symptoms/characteristics)
2. Cause
3. Timeline
4. Consequences
5. Control/cure
    Tips for thematic coding and
           content analysis
• The more conceptual the code, the more
  difficult it may be to agree a definition for
  and code reliably - but very practical codes
  may have little analytical significance.
• Develop a coding manual as you code
  each text segment - writing down label,
  definition, rules for exclusion, good
  examples of category.
First log onto psyweb:
Then go to:
Enter a code for each statement,
  then submit.
    Phenomenological analysis of
        subjective meaning
Origins and aims
• Kant (18th century) called for the systematic
  investigation of ‘phenomena’, i.e. the
  fundamental, universal contents and organisation
  of subjective experience.
• Heidegger (mid 20th century philosopher) argued
  we should study the socio-historical evolution of
  ‘being-in-the-world’, and how this shapes our
• In the 20th century, humanist phenomenologists
  have sought to understand the unique
  experiences and viewpoint of others.
 Phenomenological analysis - methods
• Attempt to discover the meaning of phenomenon through
  introspection, or empathic identification with interviewee.
• Often no formal analytic method, but immersion in data,
  prolonged reflection, reflexivity.
• In Kantian tradition, seek to ‘bracket’ preconceptions,
  ‘common-sense’ assumptions in order to achieve
  ‘primitive perception’ or insight into the perspective of the
• In Heideggerian tradition, consider socio-cultural context,
  reflexively analyse ways in which meaning co-
  constructed by investigators and participants
• Analysis complete when arrive at rich description and
  new, consistent, compelling understanding
  (e.g. Davies, M.L. (1997) Shattered assumptions: time and the
  experience of long-term HIV positivity.  Social Science and
  Medicine, 44, 561-571.)
    Phenomenological analysis
• permits imaginative, profound exploration of
• avoids making claims of ‘objectivity’
• avoids ‘objectifying’/manipulating interviewee
• gives ‘voice’ to their experience
• can degenerate into uncritical subjectivity - investigator's
  or interviewee's - or superficial description
• the possibility of ‘primitive’ perception is rejected by
• lack of detailed guidance for analysis can result in
  inadequate analysis, especially if new to qualitative
           Grounded theory
Originally (Glaser & Strauss 1960s) claimed to be
  ‘scientific method’, replacing traditional criteria
  for reliability/validity with ‘fit, understanding,
  generality, control’.
Features of a comprehensive grounded theory
• inductive theory-building (in place of
• iterative process of theoretical sampling and
  analysis, leading to saturation (i.e. point where
  collecting further data from new respondents will
  not yield new information, alter analysis)
Techniques of grounded theory
• Open and in vivo coding – grounding the
  analysis in the participants’ words
• Constant comparison (between instances
  of codes in different contexts, between
  different codes etc.)
• Questionning – how, why, where, when,
  who, with what consequences?
• Memoing – creating a paper trail of your
  thought processes
  Techniques of grounded theory
• Axial coding (create abstract codes from
  lower level codes, establish their
  properties and inter-relations)
• Diagramming the relationship between
• Verifying the analysis
• Creating a story (often with a timeline)
              Grounded theory
• explicit, well-disseminated, rigorous methodology
• emphasis on inductive method avoids premature
  imposition on data of pre-existing, imported theory -
  especially useful for exploratory studies
• many very valuable techniques for analysing data
• ‘inductive’ theory-building could be regarded as post hoc
  from realist perspective, realist from phenomenological
• socio-linguistic influences on interviews may not always
  be well theorised/analysed (but evolving method)
First log onto psyweb:
Then go to:
Write down an ‘in vivo’ code for each
  statement. What metaphoric
  connotations does the language
  participants use have?
Then use constant comparison to
  consider whether statements should
  have the same or a different code, how
  codes differ and are connected.
         Revision questions
• What is the difference between inductive
  and deductive coding?
• What are the arguments for and against
  carrying out inter-rater reliability checks?
• What is ‘theoretical sampling’ and why is it
  used in grounded theory?