Advance HE’s sixth Research and Data Briefing presents guidance on how to analyse qualitative data, such as focus group transcripts or free-text survey responses. This briefing is intended for university and college practitioners working on small- to medium-scale research projects in the areas of equality, diversity and inclusion, teaching and learning, and governance, leadership and management.
Written by Advance HE Researcher Dr Kevin Guyan, the briefing remains mindful of the contexts in which practitioners work and what is practical with limited resources and competing commitments. It discusses methods to demonstrate the success or failure of an initiative, report on progress or help make sense of a problem in an institution.
“Successful execution of a small- to medium-scale research project relies on much more than access to the appropriate tools and methodological know-how. Practitioners must also juggle competing commitments, tight timeframes and pressure from senior management to present ‘headline’ findings that demonstrate something meaningful for the institution.”
The briefing presents an introduction to analysing qualitative data against these constraints, with additional guidance and signposting to other resources that highlight the benefits of using and how to gather qualitative data. It highlights the value in looking beyond quantitative data and finding ways to gather and analyse data that captures the feelings, perceptions and lived experiences of students and staff within institutions.