How to Conduct a Qualitative Analysis of Interviews

Qualitative research interviews are essential tools for collecting data for different research methods. The interviews elicit feedback from your research participant. There are two types of interviews: structured and unstructured. Unstructured interviews are designed to determine reasons for individuals making specific decisions or reacting in certain ways. Compared to questionnaires, qualitative interviews are more personal. The interviewer may ask the participants follow-up research questions. Sometimes, the interviewees may question the interviewer fostering deep discussion of a subject.

Why Organizations Use Qualitative Interview Process

Many businesses use this method as it enables them to:

  • Identify client needs
  • Clarify market messages
  • Get ideas on how to improve products and services
  • Decide whether to expand the brand
  • Gain insights on how the products and services fit customers’ lifestyle.

Difference between Conducting Qualitative and Quantitative Research

While quantitative research involves measurable quantities like numbers, qualitative research is concerned with descriptions and understanding behaviors. Quantitative research encompasses close-ended questions with definite answers. On the contrary, qualitative research invites the participants to answer questions using their words. 

Importance of Qualitative Research Interviews

These interviews are effective since they help you understand and explain other people’s opinions and experiences. In addition, you will explore and get insights into specific phenomena. Further, you can research further and analyze qualitative findings make business decisions.

Analyzing Qualitative Interviews

Transcribe the Interview

After you are done with the interview, you should transcribe it immediately. You need to follow the word-by-word approach when doing transcription and note non-verbal communication too. Pauses and laughter during interaction can give you deeper understanding of the responses.

Optimize Your Interview Guide

You should keep well your transcriptions and interview guides as they will provide insights of how you can improve the efficiency of future interviews.

You should analyze the data early to allow you to identify emerging themes. When writing your interview report, you should include:

  • Your objectives
  • Details of your respondents
  • Questions you asked
  • A summary of the responses
  • Recommendations

Techniques of Analyzing Qualitative Interviews

You can start the analysis after you have qualitative data. You can listen to your interview tapes, transcribe each one of them and read the written transcripts. Doing this will give you a sense of how the participants responded to the questions and how your results look like. However, when you analyze your data deeper, you will discover more information. Forma qualitative data analysis systems are designed to help researchers discover data meanings easily. Some of the commonly used methods are:

  • Documentation of the data and data collection process
  • Data categorization into concepts
  • Determining data connection by relating themes and ideas
  • Ensuring data reliability and validity
  • Corroboration by assessing possible and alternative explanations
  • Reporting the findings

Qualitative research analysis often starts in the field at the time of the interview. The researcher needs to identify problems or aspects that will lead to better understanding of the data. One of the most crucial steps in the analysis process is reading the transcripts and notes. You need to note down frequently in your margins to know important information and propose effective ways of coding the data.

Documentation

Qualitative data is mostly the notes you have written down during the interview. Additionally, your data will also come from the transcribed videos. The basic data will include interactions with participants, the responses to your interview questions and non-verbal communication. If you do transcription systematically, data analysis will be less daunting.

Ensure your data is well-organized and it related to your objectives. But if new themes emerged during the interview, you can consider how they relate to your research and if you can use them for future research.

Document the data in an easy manner to allow you identify different topics and concepts. One of the best ways of organizing data is making a chart from your transcription data.

Conceptualization, Coding and Categorizing

The key step of analyzing qualitative interviews is identifying and refining salient themes, patterns of belief that connect your participants and recurring language and ideas. You need to look out for the following:

  • Frequently used words and phrases. When going through the responses for each question, you are likely to realize a repetition in certain word or ideas. You should take note of these ideas.
  • Find meaning in language. You can learn the participants’perspectives and attitudes by noticing the words they use. Your participants will have their way of expressing themselves which will reflect their behaviors and attitudes. It is vital to pick out recurring words that sound differently. As a result, you will understand the meaning of each expression and the implications of the phrases. That is why you should not correct grammar when transcribing your tapes as it will remove the originality of the interviews.
  • Be keen of unexpected responses. Unexpected answers will allow you to learn new concepts. When you feel like the interview subject is going in a new direction, you should follow up.

Conceptualization helps you describe vividly what you observed in the field.  Once you have made your observations and identified repeated phrases, words and ideas and stories from the interview, you need to organize them into codes. You can simplify the coding process by having well-designed charts.

Determination of relationships between themes and ideas

Determining relationships allows you to explain how things happened. You need to show the connection between different concepts. Using matrices to examine relationships will enable you to generate ideas for structuring your analysis. Note that your participants’ responses will have associated themes that will give you deeper meaning of the information you collected.

Determining possible explanations and authenticating conclusions

There are no conventional standards for evaluating the reliability and validity of conclusions from qualitative interviews. However, you can look at the methods you want to base your conclusion on. You should also ask yourself the following questions when assessing your data:

  • Were the respondents credible?
  • Did the participants respond to questions you asked?
  • How did your presence or absence influence the participants’ responses?

Conclusion

Conducting a qualitative analysis of interviews is not very hard. You need to know the critical steps to follow so that you perform a comprehensive analysis and make valid conclusions.

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