On the 15th November I attended the first of a two part course on the qualitative analysis aid software NVivo9.  I hadn’t used the software before and I thought that it would be worth finding out how it could help me to organise my data for analysis. After conducting some more interviews, I was looking for a tool that could  facilitate the analysis of my interview transcripts. On first glance, the ‘dashboard’ didn’t appear to be quite as confusing as I thought it would be, with elements such as the Ribbon toolbar reminding me of parts of Microsoft Office:

   By the end of the day, I had learned the basics on how to code data (or assign category labels to texts that with enable similar comments by interviewees to be grouped together)  using ‘Nodes’ on a ficticious dataset, and how to query the dataset (asking the software to display certain data based on specific characteristics chosen by the user).  As is the case with most computer software, it is only as useful the user makes it and NVivo9 is simply a tool to help you with your anaylsis – it will not do any analysing for you!

I’m now in the process of applying the same techniques to my own interview data ahead of the next session so that I have real data to work with during the training.

Read, read and read some more

There’s no shortcut to conducting a thorough systematic literature review. It’s not the actually find it quite It. The thing I find most challenging is knowing when to continue reading because the text is of interest to me or because it is of interest to study and myself.So, as I’ve been conducting the literature review, I have summarised the data on collection to aid with its synthesis in the future. Reviewing the data as it is collected keeps me actively engaged with the content and also acts as a reminder to read and re-read the research question. By reading the question numerous times, my focus remains on the topic which is very important . It is very easy to go off on a research tangent, pursuing articles that are of personal interest without realising their worth (or often lack of worth) to the task at hand.

First week, finding my feet

I spent this week reading through research protocol and sifting through other relevant documentation to get gain an understand of project. Note-making (on paper, not a pc!) seems to work best for me as a way of engaging with text over long periods of reading. I like to use flow/diagrams that show the development of my understandings of the content, with questions and quotations on the diagram periphery. The questions are useful to feedback to my line manager.

Below is a link to one of my diagrams:

Project Diagram