It is very easy to understand why qualitative date would be considered overwhelming. At first to start to understand the research, one needs to understand what qualitative data entails. Qualitative data describes whereas quantitative data defines. Qualitative data is more personalized. There are not a large number of subjects, but there is more data from fewer people. It is the data that approximates or characterizes, but does not measure the attributes, characteristics, properties, etc, of a thing or a phenomenon.
According to the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, there are 5 steps to getting your qualitative data organized. Choose and follow a clear file naming system, develop a data tracking system, establish and document transcription/translation procedures. With doing this also establish quality control procedures and establish a realistic timeline.
Overall, in my opinion when I have been looking at my paper data and research, I find that organization is the key. Reading through the data I am presented with and making a timeline to help support the findings within the large amount of data presented in front of me.
“Qualitative research is by definition exploratory, and it is used when we don’t know what to expect, to define the problem or develop an approach to the problem. It’s also used to go deeper into issues of interest and explore nuances related to the problem at hand. Common data collection methods used in qualitative research are focus groups, triads, dyads, in-depth interviews, uninterrupted observation, bulletin boards, and ethnographic participation/observation.” (Amora, 2010). Qualitative research is a systematic approach used to elicit oral and written descriptions of life experiences from the perspective of the participants and give the experiences new meaning (Susan G., Jenifer G., Nancy B., 2015, p67). It gives an understanding of the problem. For example, if a patient is not compliant with a certain prescribed treatment or medicine, qualitative method will find out why the patient is being non-compliant.
Qualitative research requires the researchers to have highly organize data management skills. The researcher must select a topic, state the problem or question, justify the significance of the study, design the study, identify sources of data, such as subjects, gain access to those sources of data, recruit subjects, gather data, describe, analyze, and interpret the data, and develop a written report of the results and findings. There are, however, methods unique to qualitative studies and sometimes to specific types of qualitative research. Having a general understanding of data management and analysis may provide the background needed to evaluate the study. Keeping track of record and connection among various bits of data require the use of special software such as computer-assisted qualitative data analysis software (CAQDAS) programs (Miles and Al. 2014).