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Data Organization for Analysis

MUE 6785 Priscilla Blanco

Data Collection

Selecting the appropriate environment in which the research will be conducted and the parties involved is crucial to understanding the questions of the research. A decision has to be made regarding what types of methods will be used to collect the data, which include, but are not limited to:

Observations Interviews Documentation Audio/Visual Materials

Data Recording

Creating a protocol for observational data will help differentiate between descriptive and reflective notes. A protocol for interviews (instructions, types of questions, amount of questions, etc.), will help the researcher have a smoother process. The researcher may have hand written notes, audiotaping, or videotaping for recording data. (Audiotaping will need transcription.)

Data Analysis

Such a process is ongoing and requires continual reflection. Analysis can occur at the same time as data collection is in process. One must read through all data and organize it. Then it needs to be coded: the process of organizing the material into chunks or segments of text before bringing meaning to information (Creswell, pg. 186).


involves taking the data apart and analyzing it for reoccurring patterns. See the following example where the coding is reflected using colors:

Coding (continued)

the coding process one can create a list of topics we found in the research. We then group these into codes. This process can be done again in order to find new emerging codes or categories. A final decision should be made to make correlations between each category.


the data has been coded and analyzed, one has then come up with the main themes that underlie the research.


were the lessons learned? This can be the researchers own interpretation, the meaning from comparing the findings, and new questions that need to be asked. Every researcher brings in their views into data interpretation based on their culture, historical views, and past experiences.

Reliability, Validity, and Generalization of Data

Researcher must check for accuracy to make sure the data is valid. Reliability refers to the approach. Was it consistent throughout the process? The researcher must constantly check the data throughout the research. This can be done best during the coding process. One has to be careful not to generalize findings to people, environments, or circumstances. Particularity is the preferred term, rather than generizability. Once all data is accurate, the researcher can move onto the write-up of the data.