Qualitative data may be in form of photos, patterns of computer materials, video tapes and objects. Analysis of these data may take place in different stages of the research study, including: concept making stage, data collection stage, interpretation stage and writing stage. The basis upon which the data is analyzed depends on the type of data collected; the type of the research question, and the philosophical approach to which the study is based. Qualitative data analysis includes the reduction of data into meaningful figures and words, display of data and conclusion (Miles & Mathew, 2009).
Following the technological advancement, new methods of analyzing qualitative data have been developed. These include the use of Computer Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Software (CAQDAS) (Strauss & Anselm, 1987). This method is advantageous since it provides accurate results and also provides an assessment of data analysis. CAQDAS also provides quick and simple analysis of complex data. This method is entirely based on the theoretical approach of qualitative research known as the Grounded Theory.
In my learning of qualitative data analysis, I have been able to grasp all the manual methods used. My major challenge is in the use of CAQDAs, Especially the N vivo software. The Nvivo software helps one to work on different kinds of data be it complex, simple detailed or unstructured. Also this software is beneficial in analyzing of data in form of videos, audio recordings, and even pictures (Kirk & Miller, 2007). This technology helps in classification of data and also organizing the data in a systematic way. It also helps in the connection of research findings to the original data. With Nvivo technology, one is able to interchange data within different computer applications like SPSS and word (Strauss & Anselm, 2007).
I plan to use this software in my thesis. Considering this, I need to improve my knowledge and skills on Nvivo. I plan to read more about the Nvivo technology from different manuals so I can get the knowledge needed in a using this software. A part from the knowledge, I plan to learn practically, some coding procedures that will help me analyze data effectively. My concentration will be on how to link data in my findings so I can test my theories quickly. I also need to know how to use annotations so I can be able to classify similar themes in my research work. I will practice on how to use Nvivo to display my findings and ideas in a range of tools which can be visualized like charts, models and even maps. Since I intend to share my findings with different people, I need to learn how to use Nvivo to export my findings to the web pages.
I need to practice on how to Use Nvivo to suit different languages like French, English, German, Spanish, Chinese and Portuguese. I will also learn how to use Nvivo in representing different things of my study using nodes. Since my thesis may require use of tables, images and text, I intend to learn how to use Nvivo technology of coding, searching, annotating and querying to help me work directly with the given applications (Seidel & John, 2010). My thesis will require different citations from different authors and sources. I do intend to learn how to use Nvivo to directly import or export this by use of Endnote, Reworks and Zotero. With these skills, I will be able to handle my thesis effectively.
In this course, I have learnt that a dissertation topic should be interesting; both to me and other people of my academia; at least three categories. The research topic should also be alive, meaning that it should display some potential of future research. Initially my dissertation topic was Impact of NGOs in the fight against poverty. After a thorough research, I realized that this topic has been widely handled from different perspectives and almost every question about it has been answered. With the knowledge I gained from this course, I decided to change my topic to, “The impact of Regional Integration on trade and border control”, basing it on CEMAC in Central Africa As an example.
Having learnt that a dissertation topic should be” alive”, I decide to choose this topic because I realized that less has been researched on it and so it could be a research question for more research studies in the future. My emphasis on this topic is about how trade and border control have been affected by Regional integration. My topic was centered in Central Africa, A region where regional integration is clearly visualized. My previous topic on the Impact of NGOs in eradicating poverty was dead since I discovered that much and almost everything had been said about it.
Use of software package has helped me understand research in a better way. I have learnt that software packages give the researcher a better approach in analyzing different kinds of results (Seidel & John, 2010). With software package, a researcher is able to provide clear, accurate and comprehensive results (Coffey & Amanda, 2007). I learnt that software packages are not easy to use in research and one needs to spare time and learn how to implement the technique involved. I specialized in learning more about the Nvivo software, which is commonly used to analyze qualitative data initially I found it very hard to understand and tried to get views from my colleagues who have found it challenging. I aim at o studying hard and learn more about the techniques and I believe am doing quite fine. With the Use of Nvivo software analysis of research, data is quick and simple compared to the use of the manual methods. I find this learning beneficial to me especially that am going to use it in my thesis.
This course has also been beneficial to me because I have learnt how to read the findings of a research article. The findings of a research article may be found in the abstract of the research article which is a summary of what the article is all about. Much of the research findings are found in the results part of the research article. In this part, the outcomes of a given research study are stated. These findings may be in form of texts, photos, answers to questions, videos and tables.
The presentation of the findings is based on the nature of the research question (Coffey & Amanda, 2007). In this section, the outcomes of the research are written just as they were from the field and there is no interpretation whatsoever. In the discussion part of the research article, the researcher tries to explain the findings of the research in great detail (Kirk & Miller, 2007). In this section, the researcher may also discus the methodological problems that were discovered during the research. The researcher may also go beyond discussing the results to analyzing them. In this, the researcher will give an interpretation of the research findings.
The finding may be interpreted in different forms. With the knowledge gained from this course, I can be able to interpret different aspects of statistics because the researcher might decide to present the findings. I am also able to differentiate various aspects of the findings like independent variables, subject variables and correlation coefficient. The summary about the findings can be derived from the conclusion part of a research article (Nigel and Raymond, 2008).
Generally, the research findings are a major part of a research since they show that the research really took place (Coffey & Amanda, 2007). The findings are beneficial in stating questions for further studies, which relates to the given topic of study. It is from the findings that other researchers may base their research topic in order to explore what had been previously done. Findings also show how well a research was conducted since they determine whether the research objectives were met or not. From my view, I think this course is quite beneficial since it fits my residential requirements. I am on track and I am planning to register for my third residency. Already, I have my prospectus.
- Coffey, F., & Amanda, Z. (2007). Making Sense of Qualitative Data. California: Sage.
- Kirk, W., & Miller, D. (2007). Reliability and Validity in Qualitative Research. London: Sage.
- Miles, T., & Matthew, B. (2009). Qualitative Data Analysis: An Expanded Sourcebook. California: Sage.
- Nigel, G., & Raymond, M. (2008). Using Computers in Qualitative Research. London: Sage.
- Seidel, J., & John, U. (2010). Methods and Madness in the Application of Computer Technology to Qualitative Data Analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Strauss, G., & Anselm, L. (2007). Qualitative Analysis for Social Scientists. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.