Qualitative data analysis using data displays

This paper in the Nurse Researcher journal by Tracey Williamson and Andrew Long walks readers through the benefits of using a number of different types of data displays when presenting qualitative data. It focuses in particular on checklist matrices, time-ordered matrices, and causal networks, giving examples of each related to how they fit the purposes of a research project.


"The amount of data generated in qualitative research can be difficult to manage. In this paper Tracey Williamson and Andrew Long discuss how the use of data displays can improve data management and also how the process can help to make the routes from raw data to research findings in qualitative research more transparent. Data displays can take several forms but share the benefit of helping to condense large amounts of data into more manageable forms. They can also help to convey information in a visually stimulating format where presentation time or column space may be limited" (Williamson and Long 2005, p. 7)


  • Introduction  7
  • What are data displays?  8
  • Using data displays in practice  9
    • Basic data displays I: checklist matrices 10
    • Basic data displays II: time-ordered matrices  12
  • Advanced data displays: causal networks  14
  • Discussion  16
  • Conclusion  18


Williamson, T. and Long, A. (2005). 'Qualitative data analysis using data displays' in Nurse Researcher, 12(3): 7-19

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