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Research Methodology: Data Analysis

Data Analysis Overview

Data Analysis and Presentation Techniques that Apply to both Survey and Interview Research

  • Create a documentation of the data and the process of data collection.

  • Analyze the data rather than just describing it - use it to tell a story that focuses on answering the research question.

  • Use charts or tables to help the reader understand the data and then highlight the most interesting findings.

  • Don’t get bogged down in the detail - tell the reader about the main themes as they relate to the research question, rather than reporting everything that survey respondents or interviewees said.
  • State that ‘most people said …’ or ‘few people felt …’ rather than giving the number of people who said a particular thing.
  • Use brief quotes where these illustrate a particular point really well.
  • Respect confidentiality - you could attribute a quote to 'a faculty member', ‘a student’, or 'a customer' rather than ‘Dr. Nicholls.'

Sample Tools for Analyzing Survey Data

  • Excel
  • R (open source)
  • SAS 
  • SPSS 
  • Stata 
  • DataCracker (free up to 100 responses per survey)
  • SurveyMonkey (free up to 100 responses per survey)

Sample Tools for Analyzing Interview Data

  • AQUAD (open source)
  • R (open source)
  • NVivo 
  • TAMS 
  • Dedoose
  • ATLAS.ti