How will I go about making sense of my data?

I will make sense of my data by looking for common themes and patterns and try to organize it based on those patterns. I will probably make some kind of a concept map. For my last research paper, I used a mind map from (n.d.) and I found it really helpful. I was able to organize and color coordinate my common themes. I also liked that it was a free website, even though it is limited to only three free bubble maps. When I think back to the data analysis of my research project last spring, I was completely lost and overwhelmed. I did not know that I was making things more difficult by waiting until I was finished collecting data before I started to analyze it (Merriam & Tisdell, 2016).

I know one of the reasons analyzing data was so difficult was that I did not code my data. Lichtman (2012) writes that there is “general agreement that the goal of analyzing the text and words collected is to arrive at common themes. Most procedures involve a process in which the researcher chooses to code words, phrases, segments, or other portions of text.” Now that I am aware that I need to code, I searched online to help me learn more about coding. I found a chapter of a book by Saldana (2009) that clarified the coding process. He wrote, “Rarely will anyone get coding right the first time. Qualitative inquiry demands meticulous attention to language and deep reflection on the emergent patterns and meanings of human experience. Recoding can occur with a more attuned perspective using First Cycle methods again. As you code and recode, expect – or rather, strive for – your codes and categories to become more refined.” After reading this document, I feel very confident about being able to tackle the coding of my data. I see that coding has to be the first step of making sense of my data. From there, I can start to categorize my data. I may use my bubble map again, because I am very visual and I feel it will help me understand my findings better.


Lichtman, M. (2012, January 19). Making Meaning From Your Data. Retrieved October 30, 2015, from Sage Publications:

LKCollab, LLC. (n.d.). Brainstorming Made Simple. Retrieved October 29, 2015, from

Merriam, S. B., & Tisdell, E. J. (2016). Qualitative Research: A Guide to Design and Implementation. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Saldana, J. (2009). An Introduction to Codes and Coding. Retrieved October 30, 2015, from Sage Publications:


3 thoughts on “How will I go about making sense of my data?

  1. I really like the site for concept mapping. I used it a lot last year when I taught junior high science and freshman history. It helped students see the different themes and commonalities among different events, so I can see how that would be useful for our research projects as well. I may have to try that as I’m trying to make sense of what I have. I’m glad that we had this blog question this week that talked about analyzing data as we go or I would’ve been in the same position as you were last year with your first research project. I’m still confused by the whole coding thing, but maybe once I get out my interviews that I transcribed yesterday things will start to make more sense. I guess it’s always a little bit more confusing until you dive in and get started.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think coding is going to help me organize and find themes. The source I quoted about coding said that it is helpful to go through your data again after you code it the first time and recode it because you may have to add and change codes as you progress through your data. I found that to be helpful to think about as well.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for that comment on coding. I feel like it is easy to say you will code, but when you start to look at your data it doesn’t seem so easy. I’m glad you found a source that said most don’t get coding right the first time, and that coding is a process that will be repeated. I feel like I sorted out some data, but I’m not sure if it will even help me in the end. There are just so many different ways to go through data. This makes me glad that I have started to look at my data, but makes me also realize that if I don’t continue to look at it I will have a lot to do at the end.


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