Managing Qualitative Data

Categories: Data Analysis, Focus Series, Instruction, Other, Qualitative, Teaching, Tools and Resources

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Qualitative data analysis is a focus on MethodSpace for April. By logging into MethodSpace you will automatically receive new posts by email. You can also follow the series through this link: QualDataAnalysis.

Getting Started

The first step of a new project can be the hardest. We need to figure out a system that is workable, and make a plan. These points are especially true when it comes to qualitative data analysis. Qualitative researchers typically have large collections of data from interviews, focus groups, observations, fieldwork, archives, and other sources. The sample chapters from these SAGE texts can help you get started. Also see the SAGE Research Methods sources included in the previous post.

Start thinking through the data management process that will work with your project!

Open-access chapters in these four books will help you think about how to organize your data and implement your data analysis strategy.

Qualitative Research Practice: A Guide for Social Science Students and Researchers (Ritchie, Lewis, Nicholls, & Ormston, 2014)

I can’t part with the first edition–
it was well-used!

I have to confess that when I first started learning about qualitative research, the first edition of this book (Ritchie & Lewis, 2003) was my bible. It has more sticky notes than any book on my shelf! The more recent edition is also a must-read. While the section on data analysis, Chapters 10-12, are not open access, but Chapter 1 provides valuable advice for researchers who are thinking about the analytic strategy as part of the overall design.

Working with Qualitative Data (Gibson & Brown, 2009)

This book aims to put the data analysis process into the context of the study as a whole. Chapter 1 offers a clear introduction to key concepts and terms. Chapter 2 focuses on ways qualitative studies can create or clarify theory.

Qualitative Data Analysis: Practical Strategies(Bazeley, 2013)

The “practical strategies” sub-title says it all! This open access Chapter 1 will give you some key questions to ask about your study and your perspectives as a researcher.

Analyzing Qualitative Data: Systematic Approaches (Bernard, Wutich, & Ryan, 2017)

This book is one I’ve often recommended to doctoral students who were writing research proposals. The unique aspect of this book is the specific guidance offered about analyzing different types of data in the context of specific methodologies. Grounded theory, narrative, discourse, semantic network, and other types are included.

Stay tuned for more posts and resources about qualitative data analysis! Log into MethodSpace and new posts will be delivered to your inbox. Use the comment area below to pose questions or suggest other resources.


Bazeley, P. (2013). Qualitative data analysis: Practical strategies. London: SAGE Publications.

Bernard, H. R., Wutich, a., & Ryan, G. W. (2017). Analyzing qualitative data. Systematic approaches. London: SAGE Publications.

Gibson, W., & Brown, A. (2009). Working with qualitative data. London: SAGE Publications.

Ritchie, J., & Lewis, J. (Eds.). (2003). Qualitative research practice: A guide for social science students and researchers. London: Sage.

Ritchie, J., Lewis, J., Nicholls, C. M., & Ormston, R. (Eds.). (2014). Qualitative research practice: A guide for social science students and researchers (2nd ed.). London: SAGE Publications.

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