How do I analyze qualitative data?

Hello there! Today this week I spent learning about how to analyze qualitative data. I come from a science background where the majority of data is quantitative. Thus, I’ve been trained in using statistical programs such as excel and R and figuring out if t-tests, ANOVA’s, ANCOVAs and what-not can be used. My supervisor often talks about coding the blogging data. How could one code blogs or do analysis without math? Fear not – for there is NVivo.


NVivo is a software that works with qualitative data which includes things like interviews, blogs, pictures, and videos. I listened in on a workshop and have played around with the program these past 2 weeks. Essentially you can upload all of your data and organize them in different ways. For my data, I can arrange a participants reflections, blog and interviews all together so that I can make comparisons. Additionally, you can create nodes (themes/ideas that relate to your data) and then code your data to one or more of these nodes. So that’s what coding means! You can also use NVivo to pick out key words and see how often it shows up in your data. NVivo is a tool that you can use, but you still need to either develop the framework you will use to code your data yourself or base it on another study. Thus, I reviewed the literature to look for what similar studies did.

I found quite a few useful studies that are related to my project. Most studies follow a content analysis and may use the constant comparative method. I think this essential means that they review their data and then see which ideas emerge to form themes. Then they relook at that data and see if they can arrange the themes into categories. It’s more of developing the method as you look at the data. Where as in science, it was considered biased to not develop what methods you will use prior to looking at the data (don’t fish for a significant p-value!). Devillar et al. (2012) study is very similar to mine where they conducted interviews with teachers and observations in their classrooms after they had completed a sojourn teaching abroad trip within their education program. They developed a table to code their data and I’m considering using it as a framework for mine as well.

To be continued….


Bryan, S. L., & Sprague, M. M. (1997). The Effect of Overseas Internships on Early Teaching Experiences. The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 70(4), 199–201.

Devillar, A., Devillar, B. R. A., & Jiang, B. (2012). From student teaching abroad to teaching in the U .S . Classroom: Effects of global experiences on local instructional practice. Teacher Education Quarterly, (Summer).

Jiang, B., Coffey, D., DeVillar, R. A., & Bryan, S. (2010). Student teaching abroad inter-group outcomes: a comparative, country-specific analysis. Journal of International and Global Studies, 2(1), 36–56. Retrieved from

Jiang, B., & DeVillar, R. A. (2011). Effects of School and Cultural Contexts on Student Teaching Abroad Outcomes: Insights from U.S. Student Teachers in Belize, China, and Mexico. Action in Teacher Education, 33(1), 47–62.

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