Qualitative Data Analysis

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Overview

As businesses and project teams continue to advance the ways they collect and analyze information, it is imperative to apply various lenses to understand emerging trends, consumer perceptions, and competitor reputations to facilitate more informed and strategic business decisions for effective outcomes.

Qualitative data are an integral type of business information that can be curated and collected from a variety of sources. Unlike quantitative data, which are numerical measurements or values, qualitative data are subjective as they represents categorical, characteristic, or estimated information. For example, businesses can collect and analyze customer feedback on social media to better understand the needs of their current and future consumers.

Another rich source of qualitative information is consumer interviews. They can provide deep insights to support your organization’s future and to generate ideas. You could also gain valuable insights by observing and recording reactions and behaviors of your customers. These findings can highlight business opportunities or simply areas of improvement.

These strategies to collect open-ended qualitative data can provide unique insights into consumer experiences and perceptions, which can clarify situations and challenge business assumptions. Qualitative data can be used in tandem with quantitative data to strengthen the organization’s overall evaluations and assessments. The following sections will provide you a quick understanding of the techniques and practical uses for analyzing qualitative data. Upon completion of these sections, you should be confident and able to complete the following tasks in a business setting:

  • Identify and categorize physical, social, and psychological influences within a setting
  • Accurately parse, prioritize, categorize, and synthesize information into themes
  • Decide when to apply formative and summative assessments
  • Classify emotions associated to terminology and phrases as positive, negative, or neutral
  • Annotate and synthesize narratives

Further Reading

Ravitch, S. M., & Carl, N. M. (2020). Qualitative research: Bridging the conceptual, theoretical, and methodological. SAGE.
Jarvinen, M., & Mik-Meyer, N. (2020). Qualitative analysis: Eight approaches for the social sciences. SAGE.
Saldana, J. (2014). Thinking qualitatively: Methods of mind. SAGE