Blog chevron right How-to Guides

6 Easy Steps in Learning How to Analyze Interview Data in Qualitative Studies

Daniel Chang
Daniel Chang
Posted in Zoom Sep 7 · 8 Sep, 2022
6 Easy Steps in Learning How to Analyze Interview Data in Qualitative Studies

It’s understandable if you find qualitative data analysis quite challenging. Unlike quantitative methodologies, qualitative data analysis doesn’t follow a systematic, rigid, and formulaic process. Once you decide to analyze interview transcripts in qualitative research, the work is slightly more intuitive than tangible.

We won’t sugarcoat things and say that qualitative analysis is an easy task. However, there are practical steps you can take to avoid turning the entire process into something chaotic. In most cases, you’ll start by having accurate interview transcripts that you need to read over and over again. 

This article will guide teach you how to transcribe and analyze interview data for qualitative research.

Why It’s Important to Analyze Interview Data in Qualitative Research

Quantitative data may offer rigor to your research. However, it is qualitative analysis that will add color to your business or academic report. By taking this approach, you can add context to your data and make it more readable. It will inspire a more meaningful discussion that goes beyond the hard numbers in your report.

Most of the time, interviews allow you to acquire subjective data from direct sources. As a researcher, you’ll get relatable perspectives and stories. You can also get important quotes from subject matter experts. Interviews provide qualitative data that strengthens the integrity and eliminates embellishment in their research.

Now, how do you acquire the information you need for qualitative data? Well, transcribing interviews provides you with the best resources for qualitative analysis. You can add life to your research by interviewing the following sources:

  • Business leaders
  • Scientists and investors
  • Trial or study participants
  • Journal and research authors

You can include sources that may contribute to the quality of the research. Now, whenever you conduct an interview, you should use the right methods to ensure you’ll get the information you need. You must maximize your recorded interviews by transcribing them accurately. 

How to Get an Accurate Qualitative Interview Transcript

It’s more challenging to get the information you need in a qualitative interview. However, by taking a systematic approach, it will be easier for you to gather the data you need. Here are some steps to follow:

1. Gather Qualitative Data

Qualitative data can be collected through various means. For one, you can record the interview and take advantage of legal-grade transcription services. Taking this approach will help you avoid data loss and inaccuracies. This method is ideal for focus group discussions and customer interviews. With this process, respondents can be more open in answering the questions.

You may have above-average note-taking skills, but that’s usually unreliable in qualitative research. Whether you’re conducting the interview over the phone, on a video conference call, or in person, you can collect accurate data by recording the conversation. You can either record the interview in an audio-only or video format.

2. Compile Your Interview Recordings Neatly

Your interview video or audio files should be easy to find, identify, and share. Use file-naming conventions that are easy to recall and organize. Ideally, you must include the date of the interview, the source’s last name, and the discussion topic. 

No matter what file naming convention you choose, you need to be consistent in the format. This way, it’s easier for you to find the necessary files later when you analyze interview data.

3. Transcribe the Focus Group and Interview Recordings

The next step is to transcribe the recordings. Now, there are plenty of tools online that can automate the process. However, remember that you are working on qualitative research, and you need an accurate transcription.

So, your best bet here is to use 100% human-generated transcription services. GoTranscript offers verbatim results, allowing you to get legal-level accuracy for your qualitative interview recordings. If you’re following tight deadlines, you can opt for a rush order. This way, you’ll get your files within your requested turnaround time and begin your qualitative analysis.

What Are the Methods Used to Analyze Interview Data in Qualitative Research?

When it comes to qualitative data analysis, you can choose from two primary approaches – inductive and deductive. If you opt for the former, you can take an unstructured approach to your research by conducting narrative or thematic content analysis.

Inductive Method for Analyzing Qualitative Interview Transcripts

  • Thematic content analysis – This method starts by identifying your overarching impressions of the information and weeding out biases. Instead of establishing a framework for approaching the data, you search the materials organically and look for common themes. You aim to discover the recurring patterns across the data set.
  • Narrative content analysis – This method requires you to make sense of the individual stories of your interview respondents. It is the ideal approach for identifying important aspects of the data that resonate well with your readers. 

Deductive Method for Analyzing Qualitative Interview Transcripts

Deductive data analysis is a more systematic or structured approach. Before you begin to analyze interview data, you need to develop categories. During the process, you’ll connect information from the data to those pre-determined categories.

Both approaches to data analysis bring benefits to your research. If you want more nuanced findings, the inductive method is the ideal option. Now, if you want to point to key themes that are crucial to your research, opt for deductive analysis.

6 Practical Steps in Performing Qualitative Analysis of Interview Transcripts

Most of the time, researchers opt for thematic content analysis. Many find it to be the most effective and trustworthy method. The approach makes it easier for anyone to verify and trace the findings of the analysis. Here are six practical steps for conducting a thematic analysis of your interview transcripts:

Step 1: Go Through the Transcripts Carefully

At this point, you likely have a digital copy of your transcript files. You may have them stored locally on your computer or in the cloud. Begin by skimming through the transcripts, and along the process, write down your first impressions. This makes to easier to analyze interview data.

Taking this approach will help you identify common patterns in the data. Your quick notes will also be instrumental in helping you come up with a final summation of the data.

Now, you need to read every transcript carefully. After multiple run-throughs, the common themes will become more visible. As a result, you will be able to come up with crucial and significant insights. 

During this process, you should also identify biases. Even within your methodologies and objectives, biases will surface in the data and among the interviewees. Sage Publishing recommends that as early as this step, you should actively neutralize the preconceived notions you identify. This way, you can take an objective approach when you begin to analyze interview data.

Step 2: Begin Annotating the Transcripts

Once you get to this step, you need to label the key phrases, terms, sentences, or section codes on the transcript. Annotating your transcripts allows you to identify important qualitative data patterns and types. 

The labels can highlight the varying interviewee opinions, concepts, and data differences. This process makes it easier for you to organize your data set for dissemination. As a result, you’re cutting down the time it takes to analyze interview data.

Step 3: Align the Data with Important Themes

This step requires you to conceptualize the qualitative data by aligning it with important themes for your final content. At this phase, you will have identified the common patterns from the initial transcript reviews.

When conceptualizing the data, you need to group the codes from the annotation to create categories and subcategories. You can combine or eliminate certain codes instead of using all of them. You should identify and retain the codes that are relevant to your analysis. 

Step 4: Position and Connect Your Categories

Now, you need to segment the data by positioning and connecting your categories. During this step, you will be able to cohesively establish most of your data. You can begin by labeling the categories, and describing how they connect to each other. The descriptions will be instrumental in optimizing your final output. Here are the steps you can take:

  1. Compile your data conveniently by using a spreadsheet.
  2. Structure the data’s critical variables by labeling the columns with proper reference codes.
  3. The document containing the coding table should be on a separate tab. This tab functions as a glossary containing critical codes for the segmentation process. As a result, you can quickly identify what the codes are referring to.

Most researchers prefer doing all these steps electronically for convenience. However, some people prefer having a printed copy so they can highlight segments using pens. In any case, you should save a copy of the transcript files. You can print them out when you need to.

Step 5: Perform a Deep Analysis of the Data Segments

Once you’ve segmented the data, it’s time to perform a deep analysis. You can begin by identifying the categories’ hierarchy. You need to decide if one category is more important than the other. You can also summarize the results by drawing a figure. This stage should also let you align the qualitative data with your quantitative data.

Step 6: Write Your Findings

Once you’ve performed a deep analysis of your data, you’re ready to write the results into a body of content. Establish and verify theories by using your data insights. You can also answer key questions that your field may ask, and don’t forget to adequately support your research goals. Use an objective, neutral voice in describing how your categories connect to each other.

Naturally, you will use your own research and pull insights heavily from it. However, make sure to consider the context of your field when writing your results. Interpret your findings alongside relevant theories, studies, and concepts when you analyze interview data.

Accurate Transcription Is Necessary in Qualitative Research Analysis

Researchers often find qualitative data analysis challenging. As such, it is important to have transcripts that capture the nuanced, unadulterated responses from interviewees. You can get their organic responses because they are using their own words and not the shortened version from your notes.

What’s great about having a transcript is that you can go back to it whenever you gain find new context. However, to ensure a reasonable level of objectivity, you must ensure that your transcript is accurate.

With GoTranscript, you can have a convenient yet efficient way of transcribing your qualitative interviews. You can save time and focus on more important aspects of your research.