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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10 thoughts on “Interpret Qualitative Research; Don’t Analyze It

  1. Right– with quantitative research you instead get to analyze the researcher, their assumptions, and the creation of the research questions 🙂

  2. I am new to autoethnography and working on a project using this method. May I include this in my references? Thanks!

  3. Hi Jeffrey, it is great to revisit your site. I am working on my autoethnography writing now. I don’t have a website like you do, instead, I am putting stuff on my MSN space. Thanks for the inspiration.

  4. Title: Finding my way home-Narrative and the Immigrant Experience

    It is a “pain and gain” game to reflect on my own 4 years of immigrant life in Canada…

    Note: HOME here indicates a status of being in the comfort zone, a kind of “feeling at home”

    Still in progress…

  5. @Mary L

    This sounds really interesting. Is this for a class, your own work, a project, or what? Hope to hear more about the progress, reasons for your creation of it, and who your intended audience is.

  6. This is the project toward my Master degree…which should have been in my pocket long ago but not yet until now, due to the immigrant “ups and downs”, mostly struggles…

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