Once you’ve got all your data, what do you do with them? Remember that they are only data until you have analysed them and used them intelligently. Only then will your data become evidence. So, how do you do the analysis? Your data are likely to come in one of two main forms: ◗◗ words ◗◗ numbers. You treat different kinds of data in different ways. Let’s look at each in turn. What is sometimes called ‘qualitative research’ is usually research to do with words (or, sometimes, images). When I say ‘words’, I mean words joined up in the way that we usually join them up in language in our everyday lives. I don’t mean isolated words, counted, as you might count them, with questionnaire responses. I mean proper sentences with meanings. How do you analyse these, other than by just taking the sentences at face value and copying them out into your research report? Most ways of analysing words are based on the constant comparative method. It’s all you need to know. Here’s what it is.
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