Conduct research

Reporting interview results

STEP 7. Transcribe and analyze the data

Interviews generate large quantities of data and tape transcription typically takes four to six hours for each hour of speech, although using a transcription machine or having good typing skills can reduce the time. It is important, therefore, to have a clear plan to guide this phase of the study.  In addition, condensing, organizing, and making meaning of interviews is often the most time-consuming and expensive part of analysis. [more]

STEP 8. Determine findings

View analyzed data from a distance until you see a larger picture and understand how this picture relates to your research question(s). Similar research may help you make sense of repeating ideas and larger themes. For example, you might identify underlying factors that explain the themes you have observed and then construct a logical chain of evidence. You might also describe an adaptive or maladaptive process that captures the behavior of respondents. If there are respondents who do not follow the usual pattern, it may be important to understand why. Qualitative researchers need to be flexible and open to the unexpected.  Drawing on repeating ideas and themes, summarize the findings in relation to your research question(s) and to previous research. 

When interpreting qualitative data, verify your findings. Review your data repeatedly to check that your findings are grounded in what was said. Look at independent evidence from other sources and use other methods, such as surveys, focus groups, or experiments, to triangulate your findings. To improve the study's reliability and validity , show your results to some of the interviewees and ask them if you have accurately recorded what they meant.

STEP 9. Report results

To report qualitative results, present repeating ideas that lead to major themes that, in turn, inform conclusions and implications. Conclusions are statements that interpret and evaluate the results found from the study.  Make sure to give primary emphasis to the results that relate to the research questions of your study. 

Quote one or two responses that exemplify a repeating idea. Quotations, which capture the words, emotions, experiences, and perceptions of interviewees, are not easily dismissed by readers. You may also want to quote a response that was an exception to a trend in order to illustrate a minority opinion or highlight a noteworthy idea. If so, report that it is one person's response.

Finally, make sure to discuss what practical or theoretical implications can be drawn for your findings, any major shortcomings or limitations of the methodology used, and directions or suggestions for future research. [more]

Page last updated: Sep 21 2011
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