An introductory guide on how to conduct a qualitative analysis


I understand that in any course we undertake, research is one thing that is most required from us and is also one of the complicated requirements we need for the completion of our degrees.

There are three major types of methods for analysis in research: qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods. In this blog article, I am going to focus on qualitative analysis.

So in this blog article, I am going to give you ten easy-to-understand steps according to Ronald Chenail and Evid Based Nurs journal articles.

I have done us a great favor simplifying these articles into a short easy guide.

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Step 1: Choose your topic accordingly with what truly interests you.

Completing research studies usually take not only an entire semester, but sometimes even 2 to 4 years. The processes and procedures one has to go through will certainly be exhausting, hence it is very important that you choose a topic that is accordingly with what you truly and genuinely want to explore and learn further.

Another important thing to consider is your resources. Would you have access to everything you need in conducting your study? Would your respondents be accessible? Are there enough qualified data to assess?

Step 2: Identify the significance of the study.

Although it is important that you choose a topic that interests you, it is even more important to consider the practical importance of your study.

In this step, write at least two sentences stating why the topic is important and relevant enough to be explored and studied. This can be easily determined through asking oneself the “so what” question.

Step 3: Determine the focus of your topic.

This can be easily done through answering the basic questions below:

Who: Who are the people you want to be respondents?

Example: senior high school students, specific gender, specific unemployed population or group of people in a specified geographic location.

What: What specific aspect do you want to explore and study?

Example: behavior of high school students towards banning the use of mobile phones at school, lower compensation for women in the same corporate positions of men, factors affecting unemployment in Yuma, Arizona.

When: When is the specific timeframe you want to cover in your study?

Example: senior high school students during SY 2019-2020, compensation data for women between 2010 to 2020, unemployment rate between 2015 to 2020.

Why: Why do you want to study your chosen topic?

Example: you may want to evaluate, explain, criticize, or evaluate.

How: How will you gather data, in which case, for qualitative analysis?

Example: interview, observations, transcripts of sessions, student journals.

Step 4: Write your question or hypothesis and the statement of the problem of your study.

Referring back to your answers to who, what, when, why and how, compose your hypothesis or research question. Make sure that your research question or hypothesis is related to the problem of our study. For example, “How does gender affect the lower compensation for women in the same corporate positions with men?”.

Do note that in conducting a research or a study, your questions or hypothesis may change overtime. Also note that conducting a research is an evolving process with varying data that are susceptible to changes as your inquiry progresses further.

Step 5: Determine your goals and objectives.

In doing step 5, be sure to clearly determine the goals of your research study including the objectives you need to accomplish towards achieving these goals. For example, you should accomplish a review of related literature about your topic, then revise your research question/s accordingly with the literature you have gathered, and determine where you are to gather your data.

Step 6: Accomplish the review of related literature.

You can undertake this step of the study either at the beginning of your research or by the near end of it or continuously in between as your research progresses. In doing this step, be sure to be thorough in the important key terms of your study.

Step 7: Create your research design.

It is very crucial that your research design effectively addresses your research question or hypothesis. You have to make sure that your research design shall accommodate three things. First and most importantly, your area of inquiry. Second, your participants. Third, your data.

Research Methodology

There are different analytic strategies in qualitative analysis.

  1. Comparative analysis

This is a methodology that has developed from the theory of symbolic interactionism. This analysis is quite easy to understand. This seeks to understand processes such as identifying and tracing common and differing patterns. For example, one compares two different responses/data from two different people who have undergone the same experience. The researcher may create a comparative question such as: “How are these two different responses and people related?”

This design is usually perfect fit for analyzing human behavior.

  1. Phenomenological approaches

Phenomenological approaches unlike comparative analysis do not study patterns and commonalities, it instead seeks to uncover and understand the nature of a phenomenon. These approaches do not employ comparisons but instead use thorough and systematic study to understand phenomenon.

  1. Ethnographic methods

Ethnography came from anthropology. This method includes documentation of human experiences and other things that affect behavior such as belief. For example, conducting an investigation on how students behave after mobile phones are banned at school.

  1. Narrative analysis and discourse analysis

Narrative strategy allows experiences and phenomena be understood and studied, and later on be applied in lived experiences. While discourse analysis is a strategy which treats speech as a tool developed through social influences.

Step 8: Determine the strengths of your study.

Create ways that will help you maximize the analytical competence of your study. For example, conduct open-ended interviews, or search for the best applicable qualitative data analysis and other ways that can boost the progress of your study.

Also, you can test and develop your design, for example, you may test your interview amongst yourselves first before actually conducting the interview.

Step 9: Plan, conduct and manage your study.

There are 4 important studies in a qualitative project:

  1. Study proposed
  2. Study conducted
  3. Study reported
  4. Study of these studies

While generally these are the important factors to address:

  1. People
  2. Communication, data (such as back-ups), analysis, results, technology, time, money, ethical concerns (such as institutional approvals), and other important resources
  3. Record of research activities (such as journal, audit, and reports)

Do note that conducting studies is always progressive, there are times you won’t end up studying what you originally planned to cover. Hence, in case you want to conduct some substantial changes to your study, the things in this step are important.

Also, these are things that will help you transition smoothly in the course of your study.

Step 10: Compose and submit your report.

Depending on the type of the study you are conducting (for example: dissertation, thesis, conference presentation). The general format is:

  • Introduction
  • Review of Related Literature
  • Methodology
  • Findings or Results
  • Discussion of Implications and Limitations of the Results

There you go! I hope this blog article will help your qualitative study!

This blog article was written by Charm from Inkmypapers