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Qualitative data analysis summarised in 4 steps

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You may need to utilise several qualitative analysis techniques if you have just completed a large surveying activity, forum conversation, or a large amount of written feedback and comments. Packing large amounts of qualitative data can take time and effort. However, a little preparation and some simple steps can make it much easier. Here is a breakdown:

  1. Gather your feedback

The first step towards conducting qualitative data analysis is gathering all the comments and feedback you want to analyse. You may capture this data through post-it notes, paper surveys, online forums, etc., so getting all your content in one place is necessary. Use a master spreadsheet to collect all the feedback. You should give yourself a suitable time for organising your data, especially while collecting and entering it from various sources.

  1. Coding your comments

The next step involves coding your comments, reading them, and deciding how to organise them. You must articulate your coding legend. Create a simple table outlining each code and what it covers. You can map it to the areas you need to report on or the key components of your project.Complete your coding by reading through each comment. If anything falls outside your coding list, mark it with an identifier such as “unsure” and return to it later.

  1. Run your queries

After coding all your data from the public opinion survey, it is time to run through your queries. You need to look for insights in your data. The reporting requirements will determine the extent and type of queries you run during this step. For example, if you explain the most used codes or themes, represent the data visually to get a sense of the most important areas.

Once you have run through your queries and explored your data, you should have enough insights left to begin your reporting.

  1. Reporting

Reporting is crucial in public opinion research, where you tell what you learnt from your consultation. Being transparent and timely with your updates is the best way to avoid losing faith in your community. Use insights to create a narrative about the issues and opportunities identified. Consider using relative charts and visuals to help them explore your data.

Generate these in a spreadsheet and ask your community for comments. Before submitting a final qualitative data analysis report, you can test whether you have framed the concerns and issues correctly and make changes.


These steps provide a simple process for organising your data, determining your coding tables, running through queries, and reporting on your consultation. Make them a part of your project planning process with an end-to-end picture of how you are going to collect and report your data before consultation.


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