Processing of data in a research process
The way you analyse the information largely depends on two things:
- the type of information: descriptive, qualitative, quantitative or attitudinal.
- the way you want to write your report.
There are two broad categories of report: quantitative and qualitative. The difference is more academic than real. Because in reality you need to combine quantitative and qualitative skills. But there are some only qualitative and some only quantitative studies.
In addition to qualitative and quantitative distinction, it is equally important for data analysis that you want to analyse it manually or by a computer.
If your study is purely descriptive, you can write your report on the basis of your field notes, manually analyse the contents of your notes, or use a computer program such as Nudist or Ethnograph for this purpose.
If you want quantitative analysis, it is also necessary to decide:
- upon the type of analysis required. For example frequency distribution, cross-tabulations, regression analysis, factor analysis or analysis of variance etc.
- how it should be presented.
- variables to be subjected to these statistical procedures.