Analyzing Qualitative Data

This guide describes an simple approach to analysing and interpreting qualitative data, or content analysis.

Taylor-Powell and Renner (2003) outline a five step process to support the analysis of text or narrative data.  They also provide examples of identifying themes and labeling data describe the use of computer based software to organise the data.  

This guide states that qualitative data cannot be used for generalizing - which is not always true.  You might choose to sample and collect qualitative data in a way that helps you to better understand the complexities of an issue, and then use this to develop a quantitative scale to collect more data.  Or you might choose and sample and collect qualitative data which can then be coded and summarized and used to make generalizations about the population.


  • Narrative Data
  • The analysis process
  • "Nuts and bolts" of data analysis
  • Enhancing the process
  • Pitfalls to avoid


Taylor-Powell, E., & Renner, M. University of Wisconsin - Extension, Program Development and Evaluation. (2003). Analyzing qualitative data. Retrieved from website:

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