Interpret Qualitative Research; Don’t Analyze It

I heard a great statement today, though I do not recall exactly who said it (I think it was an autoethnographic mailing list I follow), but I have been thinking about this all day:

We don’t analyze qualitative research, we interpret it. Only quantitative data can be analyzed.

That is one of the reasons I am so much fonder of qualitative work–interpretations can be very rich and can be done from a variety of perspectives. After all, how many interpretations have there been of the Bible or Shakespeare or even the Tarot? So much depends on experiences and assumptions, among other factors, that interpretation itself can even be interpreted.

Try doing that with quantitative research!

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