Qualitative data analysis encompasses the most basic initiatives by researchers trying to understand and develop given assumptions with regard to a particular topic or life situation. The process is different from other statistical approaches of collecting and analyzing data, in the sense that it largely relies on information obtained from the targeted group. Qualitative research approaches include; coding, which entails the sorting and arranging of data and information from research through the use of codes or labelling (Chowdhury 2015, p. 1138). Coding is quite essential in planning for the analysis of the information and serves to enable the understanding of what is occurring to the different components of the whole research data. Use of words to represent a particular situation and the employing of different signs to imply a given event, are some of the techniques used in coding of information in qualitative data analysis.
Sorting on the hand incorporates the placing of similar objects or entities together to facilitate easier analysis and assessment of the data. Sorting is an important step in data analysis since it largely reduces the work due to the fact that components bearing similarity are placed at the right areas. Sifting involves the picking and generation of the most essential data from the sorted items. The process of sifting establishes the foundation for the qualitative analysis by researchers since the acquisition of the useful information is completed (Chowdhury 2015, p. 1140). Therefore, this article will delve into offering a criticisms into the approaches in qualitative data analysis. Reasons why some researchers regard the approach as inconsequential and non-effective in data collection and subsequent interpretation shall be fronted. Further, critic as to why the methodology is an important tool in analysis of life situation from peoples’ perspectives and ideologies shall also be countered. In addition, postulations of different researchers on matters related to qualitative data research shall be examined and reviewed.
Qualitative data analysis provides researchers with an avenue and an opportunity to understand and give meaning to opinions and beliefs they acquire form the field interactions with people. Proponents of the qualitative data analysis, argue that, the process enables an individual identify and get a taste of the behavioral and cultural aspect of given people. Unlike other statistical methodologies that aim at acquiring tangible and solid data, qualitative data analysis promotes the comprehension of the specific data or information at various dimensions and angles (Chowdhury 2015, p. 1136). Based on the direct interviews conducted by the respective researcher, a correlation with what is taking place at the field can be attested to. The abovementioned aspect of qualitative data analysis establishes a superiority of the approach to the others.
Tremendous efforts and personal commitment is recommended on part of the researchers in attempts to acquire information either through observations or an interaction with the target group. The ability to identify with the issues of concern to the research is also extremely important to ensure the final research report clearly reflects the individual’s opinions and inferences (Chowdhury 2015, p. 1138). Qualitative aims and gives due attention to the third party involved in the research in trying to gauge and measure their perceptions with regard to a particular phenomenon. Therefore, the approach is regarded as to represent the common issues surrounding the lives of the respondents.
The capacity of the researcher to embrace and incorporate other techniques such as self-management and awareness in identifying and realizing the issues such as the surrounding nature or the external environment that governs the respondents’ behaviors. Integration of qualitative research with other approaches to data analysis and assessment enables a deeper comprehension of matters of contention on research. The particular emphasis given on the need to assure for human touch on the data provided, further strengthens the methodology and distinguishes it from other approaches as noted by most scientists. Solid explanations and discussions can be formulated showing the reasons as to why particular life events take a given course or path. On such basis, qualitative research offers deeper and easier interpretive data on the concepts of interest.
The methodology of research facilitates the ability to understand the sociocultural activities and practices of a particular group. Of great importance to the methodology, is the capacity to incorporate and assume human tendencies and feature. As opposed to other research methods, clarity can be established that, understanding of the human traits is far much more essential that the acquisition of huge sets of data meant to define a particular circumstance. Through the use of coding and sorting of data, tabulations and conclusions can easily be derived from the data sections offered (Chowdhury 2015, p. 1139). The capacity to freely give personal ideas with regard to a particular scenario is not compromised as evident from the other statistical methods such as quantitative analysis. Use of questionnaire and other initiatives in the latter method, limits the ability to acquire a personalized response. Comprehensive and adequate reactions are aroused from the groups interviewed due to the direct contact and the ability to question and discuss critical issues during the interview.
Furthermore, qualitative research alleviates the challenge of forming an opinion or ideology about a given phenomenon until sufficient convincing evidence is attained from the observation process. Any possible bias due to association with the particular object does not compromise the integrity of the results achieved from the exercise. With controversial issues, qualitative research approaches can be embraced to assess the reasons or conditions that are attributed to given behavior. The reasoning and the beliefs of the people can be monitored during the process in order to adequately form a conclusion with regard to a particular practice or activity. However, despite the aforementioned benefits of qualitative data analysis, negative criticism has been postulated on many occasions.
Critics of the qualitative research approaches have developed some postulations and opinions to indicate that, the approach yields inconsequential and insignificant results. Evidence on this has been the allegations that qualitative data analysis majorly focuses on a small entity where easier acquisition of data is possible. Such statements imply that, a conclusive and adequate results defining the area cannot be achieved (Chowdhury 2015, p. 1137). On this basis, findings of qualitative data analysis have been disregarded by most proponents of the quantitative approach to analysis. In addition, reliability and credibility of the estimated results has also been compromised. The geographical area of coverage cannot easily be assessed based on opinions derived from other people participating in the interviews as seen in the qualitative analysis.
Biasness of the corresponding researchers has also been questionable where displaying and composition of individualistic opinions without the conducting of any substantial research to find the underlying issues has been done. Such bias has been an issue of debate, where proponents of quantitative approach believe that accuracy of data should be maintained by gathering the necessary data from the fields (Chowdhury 2015, p. 1142). The approaches of sorting and coding have also been viewed to offer personal beliefs and judgments which are entirely limited and construed to that particular individual. Therefore, assumptions have been made that, such researchers feed people with their own convictions as opposed to following the right measures to the development research information.
Personal differences that arise during interactions in the efforts to acquire information on a given research may render the qualitative approach ineffective. Moreover, the method is limited to the willingness of the particular respondents to share and exchange information on given topic of concern (Chowdhury 2015, p. 1140). Thus, bearing such difficulties, different researchers have been fully convicted that the qualitative research relies so much on external factors that are incontrollable thereby risking the quality of the research. Further, judging and determination of how true and accuracy of the given data provided by an individual based on their own opinions is quite challenging. Principles of research dictate that a data set must bear some level of truth and bear a correlation to the factor being investigated in theory. However, due to the small area samples achieved using this particular analytical approach, acquisition of average data values that represent a wholesome entity is compromised.
Implications for Software Development
With the continued advancement in technology, embracing of the recent trends in both research and other areas of life is quite paramount. Technology has over times acted as possible substitute for the human effort if changes to correspond to the imminent extinction are not established. Previously, coding and sorting activities were solely conducted through human effort where clear thinking and reasoning was possible before taking a decision. However, with the rise of technology, software have been generated that seek to eliminate some of the elongated research methodologies (Chowdhury 2015, p. 1135). The essence of such advancements is to create an improvement on the research criterion by providing for faster research initiatives. The analysis of the data functions using the software for qualitative data analysis is quite challenging since the systems cannot generate individual reasoning approach. The underlying consequences of software development are the inability to evoke the human mind in the analysis process. However, assisting in approaches to qualitative research through coding and sorting quite faster using the advanced software.
Based on the above discussion, conclusion can be made that, qualitative research cannot be dismissed at whatever cost. Integration of the process with the various aspects of data collection such as the ability to assess individual’s character and understand their feelings gives a deeper meaning to research (Chowdhury 2015, p. 1136). Despite the negative critic, proposition is advocated for the adoption of qualitative data analysis, as measure to determine different components of research simultaneously. In addition, the possibility of biasness is greatly reduced due to the fact that respondents are given the opportunity to share their opinions without any opinion being formed about them. Any prior judgment of a given life situation is avoided to establish for the accuracy of the results desired. Moreover, qualitative research offers an opportunity to incorporate the coding parameter as well as sorting as the preparation foundations for the analysis by allocating elements of similarity together.
Chowdhury, M. F., 2015. Coding, sorting and sifting of qualitative analysis: debates and
discussions. Quality & Quantity, 49(3), pp. 1135-1143.
Silverman, D. ed., 2016. Qualitative research. Sage.
Taylor, S. J., Bogdan, R. and DeVault, M., 2015. Introduction to qualitative research methods: A
guidebook and resource. John Wiley & Sons.
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