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Handling Qualitative Data

Handling Qualitative Data
A Practical Guide

Third Edition

© 2015 | 264 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
The Third Edition of Lyn Richards' best-selling book is the perfect introduction to qualitative research for students and practitioners. Recognizing that for many new researchers dealing with data is the main point of departure, this book helps them to acquire an understanding of the skills and methodological issues that are central to qualitative research. Author Lyn Richards provides practical guidance on how to handle, reflect on and make sense of rich data, while at the same time showing how a consideration of methods and their philosophical underpinnings informs how we should best handle our data.

Detailed sections cover: the processes of making, meeting, sorting, coding, documenting, and exploring qualitative data; how to see a study as a whole and write it, and making and justifying claims. Each chapter smoothly integrates software use with discussion of the main challenges that software users are likely to encounter. Novice researchers who use this book will be able to achieve valid and useful outcomes from qualitative analysis, and ensure they do justice to their data.
Part I: Setting up
Setting up Your Project
Making Qualitative Data
Data Records
Part II: Working with the Data
Up from the Data
Handling Ideas
Part III: Making Sense of Your Data
What Are You Aiming for?
Searching the Data
Seeing a Whole
Telling It

Lyn Richards has produced a very accessible guide on how to work with qualitative data in a meaningful way. This book is unique in that Richards’ correctly assumes that today’s qualitative researchers will be using technology in their analysis. She weaves this understanding into each phase of the process she describes, guiding the novice through key aspects of how to effectively handle their data.



Trena Paulus
Associate Professor, University of Tennessee Knoxville

A really useful text to help students get to grips with data analysis.

Nikki Petty
Principal Lecturer, Centre for Health Research, University of Brighton

This is an excellent text, it is well structured and provides a step by step approach for students to follow when analysing their qualitative data with particular application to the use of computer software.

Glynis Bennett
Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Life Sciences and Education, University of South Wales

This book provides a useful overview of collecting and analysing qualitative data. However, given that this book has a subtitle of 'practical guide', I miss a range of examples - everything remains quite abstract. I acknowledge that there is a companion website that provides examples but for me a textbook also needs to work by itself without having to go to a website for essentials.

Dr Antje Cockrill
School of Business, University of Wales, Trinity St David
December 2, 2016

An excellent guide to the analysis process that encourages readers to engage deeply and over a prolonged period of time with their data - for this it. For this reason it is recommended for advanced research methods courses and dissertation courses (and PhD studies) where students are collecting and/or analysing their own data.

Dr Joanne Hill
Faculty of Education and Sport, Bedfordshire University
October 3, 2016
Key features
  • A fully updated website with expanded examples of "Methods in Practice" showing students and practitioners what qualitative data analysis looks like in real life; researchers reflect back on their project and what they might have done differently.
  • New critical discussion on the companion website of the contributions of qualitative software and relevance of current software to project tasks. Researchers using different qualitative software packages report how they were used and where there limits were met.
  • Extended coverage within the text of key topics in qualitative research including ethics, reflexivity, and the relationship between research questions and methodological choices.
  • With examples from a wide range of social science disciplines including Education, Media, Sociology, Psychology and Health, this book is the perfect companion for all those starting out qualitative research.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Ch. 1: Setting up your project

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