Paper Session A
Thursday 7 February 12:00 – 13:00 Elvin Hall (Level 1)
Chair: Tom Richards QSR International, Australia
Presenting Qualitative Data in a Quantitative World
Carol A. Dolan and Coleen L. Crouch
United States Army Medical Research Unit-Europe, Germany
Purpose. In the past, the typical audience for our research has been routinely provided with data that we collect in quantitative format. Of late, we have added a qualitative component to our research program, and have been using QSR NVivo to analyze interview data. So we are faced with the challenge of disseminating the results of these analyses in an eye-catching presentation format that helps to get across to the audience the richness of the data. Thus, the purpose of this study is twofold: To show what we did in one recent presentation, and to invite suggestions for other methods for visual presentation of our ‘wordy’ data.
Methods. We conducted 22 focus group interviews with U.S. Army soldiers and 20 individual leader interviews that focused on sources of stress, ways of coping health outcomes.
Results/Findings. Analysis of the interview data yielded several themes, which were organized around types of stressors, types of coping, and perceived barriers to and facilitators of coping. The visual presentation, while organized and color-coded for topic, seemed to be overwhelmingly wordy. We then added an auditory component, whereby when a verbatim quote box was clicked on, a recording of a person reading that quote could be heard. We were also able to use the NVivo Modeler in a similar manner.
Conclusions. In addition to the insights learned about stress, coping and health in a military environment, we also were able to use 2 sensory modalities – visual and audio - to present the findings. As part of our presentation at the conference, we would like to hear from other QSR users on methods of presenting qualitative data.
Micro-Processes Involved in Teamwork using a Qualitative Software Package
Silvana di Gregorio
SdG Associates, UK
This is a report of an ongoing study on how individuals within a research team negotiate the analysis process with particular reference to how they use software (N4 and NVivo) to help in the analysis. Three case studies are discussed within a symbolic-interactionist framework. The emphasis here is on how the researchers themselves negotiate their working practice, reflecting on their different working preferences and on the limitations imposed by the software and their computer set-up. This paper will discuss the negotiation process necessary in team development when working with technology. The individual ‘voices’ of the researchers will be preserved.
This presentation offers a range of considerations for qualitative researchers contemplating the use of qualitative analysis software in teams, and identifies some strategies that contribute to success. It should be helpful for anyone involved in shared projects.
Paper Session B
Thursday 7 February 15:30 – 17:00 Elvin Hall (Level 1)
Chair: Judy Ireson Institute of Education, University of London, UK
Using QSR N5 to help provide insights into the evaluation of on-line discussion: work in progress and some lessons learned
John L. Ralston
The Open University, UK
Asynchronous text-based discussion is increasingly used as a means of developing collaborative learning and is frequently a component of professional development programmes. For example, in supported self study programmes for teachers, computer mediated conferencing (CMC) forms a key support medium as part of a continuing professional development programmes in teaching and learning. An important consideration is to ensure that the potential of CMC is used to best effect and to find ways of investigating what level of discussion is taking place in these computer conference environments. A particular focus of this work has been the need to look at the effectiveness of existing tools of analysis which are being advocated to arrive at a judgement about their ease of use (for example Henri, 1992; Gunawardenna et al., 1997 and Lally, 2000.)
This paper reports on work-in-progress in the use of N5 in investigating how interactions among participants in networked communities can be analysed. Working with a small number of datasets, the study considers some of the practical issues which have arisen in using N5 to help with this analysis. The paper discusses issues which emerged in document preparation- refining CMC text in a form to be analysed by N5; the relationship of text units to units of meaning as defined in the analysis models, multiple codings and results analysis.
Creating New Histories of Learning for Math and Science Instruction: Using NVivo and Transana to manage and study large multimedia datasets.
Director of Technical Services, Wisconsin Center for Education Research, USA
Researchers, educators, and classroom teachers are increasingly relying on video data to build case histories, document instructional practices, track cognitive development, and develop new curricula. The use of video and other related data – images of student work, transcripts of dialogue, test scores, observational notes, etc. – opens up new areas of inquiry and gives us new ways of investigating traditional questions. However, management of the expanding role of video and other accompanying multimedia data presents new challenges in data acquisition, management, analysis, and dissemination.
The Wisconsin Center for Education Research, the TalkBank Project, and the Data Intensive Computing Environments group at the San Diego Supercomputer Center have formed a partnership to address these challenges. Called Digital Insight, the project will deliver a new system for analyzing rich, complex data sets and building histories of student learning for use in education research and instruction. In particular, one of the participating research teams is working with us to develop a workflow model that uses our video analysis tools to pull together case studies from across large datasets – including hundreds of hours of videotaped math instruction. We then export analytically interesting subsets for fine-grained analysis and presentation using NVivo. The paper will describe both the dimensions of the case building process using Transana and the introduction and analysis of the extracted cases in NVivo.
Applied hermeneutics: a new approach to the analysis of qualitative data with NVivo
University of Strathclyde, UK
CIRAS (Confidential Information Reporting and Analysis System), is a project in which safety concerns throughout the UK railway system can be reported in a way that would be problematic through more conventional channels.
In CIRAS confidential reports are submitted, which are then followed up by semi-structured interviews, in which the interviewees are encouraged to expand upon the precise nature of the safety concerns raised. The interview is transcribed and the data inputted into NVivo. Texts are ‘coded’, and this data is taken and inputted into a spreadsheet program as categorical data, and basic numerical descriptions given of the transcripts. It is suggested that this two stage approach (based on hermeneutic approaches to texts) produces more data than other approaches and has implications for general qualitative methodology. This output is discussed, and the importance of a reliability trial is stressed: solutions to reliability problems with qualitative methods are suggested. Possible further applications of CIRAS methodology are then discussed.
Paper Session C
Friday 8 February 10:45 – 12:15 Elvin Hall (Level 1)
Chair: Ann Lewins University of Surrey, UK
Using creativity techniques to improve node tree construction in template analysis using NVivo
Graham Gibbs and Nigel King
Department of Behavioural Sciences, University of Huddersfield, UK
In recent years we have taught postgraduate students and novice researchers qualitative analysis using template analysis. This is a form of thematic analysis developed from phenomenological approaches and has many affinities with grounded theory. Those using the technique construct a hierarchically arranged template of codes or nodes. In our experience, learners have great difficulty in developing a template beyond the obvious, first attempt. We have therefore experimented with a range of techniques borrowed from creativity research, such as magnification, combination and rearrangement, to help learners develop more sophisticated nodes and node relationships.
These were implemented using NVivo. For example, to simulate forced combination, learners cleared all free nodes then moved all tree nodes into the free nodes area. This breaks the tree structure and arranges nodes alphabetically. Learners then merged coded text from consecutive pairs of these nodes (effectively random pairings) and attempted to construct a new node and definition based on the text. This paper will report on learners' experience of these techniques and suggest some guidelines for the creative use of NVivo in teaching qualitative analysis techniques. These guidelines will also be of relevance to improving the credibility and transferability of analysis.
Longitudinal studies: qualitative data analysis software enables a way forward
Roger J Vallance
University of Notre Dame, Australia
This paper presents a critical investigation of the present development of qualitative longitudinal research. The nature, advantages and limitations of longitudinal studies will be explored using examples from projects recently undertaken or in progress. Different styles of Qualitative Data Analysis (QDA) software have helped develop the analysis of longitudinal data. These different styles, and their consequences for analysis, will be explored and contrasted. Lastly, an ‘active imagination’ approach will be employed to dream of future possibilities for QDA software, with special reference to longitudinal studies.
The exploration of software will attempt to distinguish between issues of what can be done and what needs to be done in terms of an analysis driven by the research question. The challenge of ethical analysis to do ‘what is required’ rather than ‘do whatever we can’ will be explored and contrasted to quantitative data mining techniques. The over-riding tone of this presentation is that analysis should always be an ethical and considered dialogue between question and data, researcher and context, intentions and outcomes without compromise or neglect of either party.
International Research and the use of QSR N5
University of Teesside, UK
This paper attempts to examine the use of QSR N5 in the context of International Social Work undertaken between Human Service practitioners and academics working in roles as 'experts' or consultants in developing countries. Previous problems of professional colonialism and the possibilities for CADQAS and Internet led models of empowerment in this area are examined.
This paper offers a case study and theoretical model based on work undertaken by the author as a consultant for the United Nations children's organisation, (UNICEF). International Consultancy in Social Work and the human services is a somewhat neglected topic in the literature. The integration of N5 theory building capacity with online communications software such as Web Meeting and Messenger allows the consultant/researcher and host agency to develop ongoing research over much longer time spans. This allows for learning present in International courses and visits to be embedded in a local acculturated practice context over much longer time periods.
The use of N5 with its flexible report facility allows for ongoing clarification of policy developments and for issues of professional and political resistance to change to be addressed in a more timely manner for policy development.
Paper Session D
Friday 8 February 13:30 – 15:00 Elvin Hall (Level 1)
Chair: Clare Tagg TaggOram Partnership, UK
Coding - Fracture and Transparency
A P King1, A D Knight1 and A Declercq2
1School of Environment and Development, Sheffield Hallam University, City Campus, Pond Street, Sheffield, S1 1WB, UK
2Catholic University of Leuven, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology, Unit of Sociology of Social Policy, E. Van Evenstraat 2B, Leuven
Computer based qualitative data analysis has undergone high rates of adoption in recent years. This type of analysis offers the potential for increased fracture of data. The level of data fracture sought is an important concern for those involved in qualitative research. Linked to this issue is the transparency of analysis. Often research methodologies are reported which give few clues to the coding mechanisms employed.
Although this research was originally derived from an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) sponsored project in the field of construction management and economics, collaboration with other fields identified the need for this research. The project utilises a grounded theory methodology. Using a combination of self-reflective analysis of the coding process in addition to interviews with 'coders' it aims to uncover the strategies used in fracturing and subsequent arrangement of the data.
Interim findings point to fracture being a component of time available to researchers, understanding of the software utilised, and the purpose of the study. Transparency in analysis is argued for, with the use of an audit trail made explicit in the research findings to increase the bond between analysis and findings in qualitative research.
Multiple coders, multiple traditions: An exploration of the use of multiple coders and models
Virginia Tech, Falls Church, Virginia, USA
In this presentation, I address two issues regarding qualitative data analysis. The first concerns the use of multiple coders. I consider in particular the ways in which multiple coders can work both independently and together. The second issue is the extent to which an analytical or theoretical model is in place prior to analysis, whether a model emerges from the data, or whether one begins with a model that is subsequently modified by the data.
I will describe how students in an advanced doctoral seminar in qualitative analysis approached these issues. As a vehicle for teaching qualitative interviewing and data analysis, I asked students to conduct interviews on the topic of "being and becoming a graduate student". Analytic procedures involved individual and multiple coding. How we merged our coding is explained. We also explored working either with an existing model or letting the model emerge from the data. Students worked in teams throughout one semester. Results suggest that the group without a model eventually developed a model while those that began with a model either modified it slightly or tried to make the data fit the model. Surprisingly, the models did not particularly fit each other.
Narrative and analytic thought: their presence in interpretative research using QSR NVivo.
Pilar Lacasa 1, Amalia Reina 2, María Alburquerque2, Carmen Cruz1, Pilar Herranz3
1 University of Alcalá. 2 Universidad of Cordova. 3 UNED; Spain
To investigate from the perspective of the socio-cultural psychology presupposes the acceptance of the idea that context is not an independent variable that conditions human actions. Context becomes one of the several dimensions of human activity without which it cannot be understood. As developmental researchers we think of children as living in specific settings, having specific experiences and in specific life situations. The objective of this presentation is to show how by using NVivo we approach human activity in context by the combination of two modes of thought, the narrative or use of stories and the analytical or use of categorical concepts, as defined by Bruner (1996). Each of these modes functions differently and provides distinctive ways of ordering experience and constructing reality. The possibility of constructing and reconstructing documents and nodes successively and jointly as offered by the program is especially appropriate to carry out that double approach.
Specifying something more we will say that the point of narrative is to make meaning of activity considering different patterns of placing events, utterances, particulars of all kinds into contexts; from that perspective what is particularly interesting about a narrative is to consider story as a structure that it travels between its parts and the whole: the events recounted in a story take their meaning from the story taken as a whole, while the story as a whole is more than the sum of its parts. In contrast, an analytic perspective employs categorization or conceptualization and operation by which categories are established, instanced, idealized, and related to each other to form a system.
In order to show how these two approaches to the ethnographic data can be combined using NVivo we consider a number of examples taken from our own research, in which we examine how children developed multiple literacies at school, working in a writing workshop that took place over a period of three months.