Steps for analysis of qualitative data
Qualitative data analysis will provide more in-depth understanding of the key study
questions and of your quantitative findings. Analyze qualitative data with field staff,
data collectors and relevant stakeholders to include their interpretation in the results.
If feasible, conduct a portion of the qualitative data analysis with community
members to include their interpretation and perspective.
Follow these steps for qualitative monitoring data, which are often generated more
frequently and must be analyzed more quickly than evaluation data, but feel free to
condense steps when necessary to shorten the analysis process.
1. Translate all qualitative data. Translate each set of qualitative notes, or data, into
the language in which the analysis will be conducted and in which the report will
ultimately be written (if the survey was conducted in a different language than
2. Create a matrix of the qualitative data that shows the various responses to each
question by location similar to the matrix provided below. Also record the
various characteristics of each data source (e.g., focus group or key informant) in
the matrix so you can compare subgroups. Place the questions in the column
headings and the data source location/description in the row headings and
record the data in the corresponding squares.
Create the matrix in either Microsoft Word or Excel. Copy all relevant qualitative
data into the corresponding matrix cell. Share these matrices with all persons
involved in the data analysis.
Do not paraphrase the data in the matrix; use the respondents’ actual words. Once
you have analyzed the data and pulled out all relevant themes, you may then
paraphrase or summarize the results.
3. Read through all of the data presented in the matrix. What phrases or key ideas
are repeated in more than one data source? What phrases or ideas are unique to a
particular subgroup? Once you have identified common phrases or ideas, code
the data to determine how often and by which groups these ideas were cited.
Highlight or circle these ideas where they are mentioned in your matrix.
Create a separate table in which you can record the number of times that key
ideaswere cited. Create a row for each theme or idea as shown in the example
below. Also record the characteristics of each group that cited each idea.
Different groups may refer to similar ideas with slightly different terms or words. Be
sure to search through the data and connect these various terms and ideas.
If you have a large amount of data, use Excel or another program to house the
qualitative data. Use the ―COUNTIF‖ function in Excel to identify where certain
ideas or themes are mentioned.
With qualitative data, you can make statements such as ―7 of 10 focus groups stated
that improved hygiene practices were among their community‘s top priorities.‖
Refrain from referring to percentages when analyzing qualitative data. With
qualitative data, each group or interview is a unit and the number of units (focus
group discussions) is often too small to support percentage statements.
Itis often best to refer directly to quotes from the data during interpretation. Include
direct quotes in your report as well.
4. Comparisons of subgroups. Does your analysis plan require any comparisons
between subgroups? If so, did subgroups cite similar or different ideas for key
questions? What would account for these differences?
5. Additional analyses. Based on your initial quantitative data analysis, what
additional questions have arisen? Which of these can be answered by further
analysis of your qualitative data? Read through the data again with these
questions in mind.
6. Discuss the findings with the analysis team. Record all ideas and interpretation
provided by the analysis team. Produce a summary qualitative report that can
serve as a reference during the discussions. Include quantitative data and
findings in the summary (as applicable). Refer to Reflection Events for questions
to guide these discussions.