Preparing Data for Analysis and Triangulation
Step 3 - How to Prepare the Table for Data Triangulation
Preparing to Merge Tables Using Key Sort Categories
This article describes how to set up a table in a word processing application so that the researcher can bring together data from different sources. This step is critical to data retrieval during analysis and to capture demographic information that can be important to the study. For example, it is useful to highlight the criteria used to select the study participants, as these attributes can be important to the analysis.
The criteria or attributes are the basis for identifying key sort categories.
At this stage of the data table preparation, it is helpful to think about the information that will be key to retrieval of data when data tables are merged. Consider the many conditions for which data analysiswill be made easier and more accurate by merging tables:
- Multiple respondents (study participants)
- Focus groups (several respondents)
- Study data from different time periods
- Data grouped by question type across respondents
Adding Columns to Tables
So far, the data table would show these columns (left to right): Participant Name or ID; Theme Code, Moderator Questions / Participant Response; Sequence. However, to fit this page, the column for Participant Name or ID has been left out in the table example below Note that in practice, this column is essential for analysis.
The next columns to be added will show selection criteria or participant attributes.
It is helpful to format the table in landscape view since adding columns for pertinent criteria or attributes will extend the width of the table considerably.
Using Short Labels for Key Sort Categories
Sort categories can be represented by numbers, letters, or number letter combinations. Instead of writing out the sort categories in full words, a researcher may choose to use short tags instead. For example, in the table above, the organizations are different orchestras around the world. The orchestras can be matched to short tags as follows:
- Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra = S
- Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (YOLA) = L
The roles of individuals in the organizations can also be coded. Some examples are below:
- Conductor = 1
- Concert Master - 2
- Musician = 3
- Music Teacher = 4
- Festival Director = 5
Example Step 3.
Table for Analysis of Multiple Source DataOrganization Age Role Theme Code Interviewer Questions / Participant Responses Sequence # N/A N/A N/A 4.205 Interviewer: How did playing ensemble music in the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra influence how you felt about being a boy from the barrio? 45
Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra23 Musician 4.205
Before I joined El Sistema, I was a bit of a trouble-maker.
I stopped thinking of myself that way once I learned to play an instrument. I am convinced that practicing with the other music students, every afternoon and every Saturday morning, kept me from getting into serious trouble.
The market research budget of a small business owner or, especially, a home-based business generally does not have room for spending large sums on software to analyze the qualitative data collected for business development. This series of articles provides step-by-step information on how to use an ordinary word processing application to conduct text analysis for qualitative market research. The processes described can be applied to the analysis of quantitative data collected from surveys research, focus group sessions, and in-depth interviews.
If you have read through Step 1 and Step 2, you know how to set up the data table and the code book.
Now you are ready to learn about the two main types of approaches to coding used in qualitative data analysis.
The next step in the preparation for data analysis is: Step 4 - Coding Data with Multiple Theme Codes.
Links to all of the articles in the series are provided below.
A Beginner's Guide to Do-It_Yourself Qualitative Data Analysis
Step 1. Set Up Table and Column Headings
Step 3. How to Prepare the Table for Data Triangulation
Step 4. Assign the Codes to Prepare for Data Analysis
Step 5. Perform Sorting with Combined and Isolated Codes
Step 6. How to Perform Code Validation and Merging of Data Tables
Step 7. Advanced Considerations in Qualitative Data Analysis
LaPelle, N. R. (2004). Simplifying qualitative data analysis using general purpose software tools. Boston, MA: University of Massachusetts Medical School.
Miles, M. B. and Hubermanm, A. M. (1994). Qualitative data analysis: An expanded sourcebook (2nd ed.) Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Dey, L. (1993). Qualitative data analysis: A user friendly guide for social scientists. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.MacQueen, K. E., McLellan, K., Kay, K., and ilstein, B. (1998). Code book development for team-based qualitative analysis. CAM Journal, 10, 31-36.