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 bubbl.us (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: http://www.sagepub.com/sites/default/files/upm-binaries/45660_12.pdf
LKCollab, LLC. (n.d.). bubbl.us Brainstorming Made Simple. Retrieved October 29, 2015, from bubbl.us: https://bubbl.us/
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: http://www.sagepub.com/sites/default/files/upm-binaries/24614_01_Saldana_Ch_01.pdf