Data Analysis

Data Analysis

1. What is data analysis?

Data analysis involves the processing and interpretation of the data that you collect in your fieldwork in order to draw out key themes and insights for answering your research question.

(a) Where does data come from in qualitative research?

The nature of the data you collect during your fieldwork depends on the nature of your methodology and methods.

In ethnographic approaches to feminist urban research key sources of data are:

  1. Research diary: your reflexive observations, your thoughts and ideas about the research process, its social context and your place in it (that is, where you exercise reflexivity and make notes about your positionality).
  2. Fieldnotes: notes about your data and the observations about the circumstances in which you collect it.
  3. Interview transcripts.

(b) When does data analysis happen?

Data analysis begins while you are conducting your fieldwork and continues into the process of writing up your research. In longitudinal projects data analysis may be repeated at select intervals when new data is collected.

(c) Stages of data analysis

There are several stages to data analysis. These include processing your raw data from the field, annotating and coding your data, before you analyze data to draw meanings, insights and conclusions.

(d) Approaches to data analysis

There are many different approaches to data analysis. The approach you use is guided by your methodology, methods and the type of data that you collect in the field.

Some common approaches to analyzing data include:

  • Discourse Analysis
  • Narrative analysis
  • Grounded Theory
  • Visual Data Analysis
  • Comparative Analysis

Next, we will examine a grounded theory approach to analyzing qualitative data.


DeLyser, D., Herbert, S., Aitken, S., Crang, M. and McDowell, L. eds., 2009. The SAGE handbook of qualitative geography. Sage.

Hardy, C., Harley, B. and Phillips, N., 2004. Discourse analysis and content analysis: Two solitudes. Qualitative Methods, 2(1), pp.19-22.

Moss, P., Al-Hindi, K.F. and Kawabata, H., 2002. Feminist geography in practice: Research and methods. Wiley-Blackwell.

Peake, L. 2018. Presentation at the ‘Workshop in Urban Feminist Research: Ethnographic Research Tools’, Ramallah, Palestine, July 2018.

Tonkiss, F., 2004. Analysing text and speech: content and discourse analysis. Researching society and culture, 2, pp.367-382.