Homework Question on Managing and Organizing Voluminous Qualitative Data
- Qualitative data has been described as voluminous and sometimes overwhelming to the researcher. In what ways could a researcher manage and organize the data?
Homework Answer on Managing and Organizing Voluminous Qualitative Data
A researcher can manage and organize voluminous qualitative data through the following ways. The first step is the creation of a file naming system. A researcher should select and stick to a clear and simple file naming system. Consistency in naming would eliminate confusion. A researcher can enhance this through printing the file name on the footer of each study document. Important elements that can be included in the naming system include the participant unique identification number, type of data collection method, site from which the data is collected, interviewer, the data collection date, and demographic and other codes that the researcher anticipates would be meaningful in his/her analysis.
Secondly, the researcher should create a data tracking system. The details would vary as determined by the research study’s size and complexity. For instance, the researcher should establish the procedure to be followed, from the point of collecting the data, to compilation, to coding, among others, until the point where the quality of data is verified and the document is finalized for analysis. The third step would involve establishing transcription procedures. While conducting interviews, the researcher should transcribe to enable him/her recall particular details that cannot be recorded clearly (Polit & Beck, 2010, p. 465).
The researcher should then code the data, and start sorting them and creating files in accordance to themes and categories. Related themes should then be organized of combined into major categories, which should be well labeled (Polit & Beck, 2010, p. 465). The researcher should ensure that all identifiers attached to all sections of the data are maintained. Care should be taken to ensure the reduced qualitative data maintains its original meaning.