9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN20 Qualitative Methods

2009-09-03 09:00:00 2009-09-03 10:30:00 Thursday, 3 September 09:00 - 10:30 The Quality of Qualitative Research Building II, B2.01

Data Visualization in Qualitative Data Analysis

The paper will discuss the problem of data visualisation in qualitative research from two perspectives: in the first part I will focus on theoretical and methodological issues and argue that visual thinking is creative, helpful for exploration and for discovering patterns, relations and structures in social science data. Scholars like Tony Buzan or Lothar Krempel have shown conclusively that complex information and dependencies can be translated into easy-to-read graphical representations. The second part of the paper will focus the practice of research, particularly the new visual tools integrated in QDA software.
Data display and visualization are areas of research methods that become more and more important, particularly in qualitative and mixed methods approaches. As Matthew Miles and Michael Huberman pointed out in their widely known book Qualitative data analysis - an expanded sourcebook better displays are a major avenue to valid qualitative data analysis. Data displays may have multiple functions in the analysis process: data condensation, data reduction, data exploration, idea management and last but not least data presentation. According to Miles/Huberman, the dictum "You are what you eat" might be transposed to "You know what you display".
In the practice of data analysis, it is useful to differentiate between two types of visualizations: case-oriented and cross-case visualizations. Case-oriented visualizations offer a visual display of the codes applied to a text. These displays are interactive and directly connected to the source material. Cross-case displays show more complex information and make it easy to identify relations.