As I already wrote in this blog post Christiane Grünloh (KTH, TH Köln) visited our HTO group at Uppsala University last week to work with us on joint studies. We worked mostly with the last preparations for the interviews with physicians and nurses at the oncology department, but also e.g. on the first national patient survey paper.
During the last day of her visit Christiane held a very interesting seminar about methods for analyzing interview data – see picture above. She is very experienced when it comes to this kind of qualitative analysis and she really made the main points and challenges clear. The presentation was based on both theory (mostly analysis methods described in the paper (Braun & Clarke, 2008) and the book (Braun & Clarke, 2013)) and personal experiences of analyzing large quantities of transcribed interview data.
Analyzing interview data, or observational data for that matter, is certainly not an easy process. Christiane made a very strong point about that themes do not just “emerge” (you often read in articles about themes that “emerge” from the data), but that you really need to work hard and arrange the material in several different ways to end up with relevant themes. Especially for researchers who are new to qualitative research, thematic analysis by Braun & Clarke offers a systematic approach to identify and analyze patterns in qualitative data.
Several concrete tips were shared and I think one of the most important ones was to print the entire material, after it has been sorted according to the chosen codes. Playing around with codes and coded samples physically is really something I also recommend. I have been doing that myself when analyzing interviews and most of all observations – it is really challenging trying to find out (based on transcriptions of dialogues and notes) how non-verbal audio and haptic cues affect collaboration and communication in a collaborative environment!
Several members from our HTO group participated and also a few other members from our department. Most of the participants were Ph.D. students and I really think they got a lot of help from this method seminar. Several of the participants asked questions after the presentation and the discussions those gave rise to were also very interesting.