Reviews

Handling qualitative data

While many texts focus on theoretical perspectives and the methodological approaches associated with qualitative research, few offer insights into the actual ‘doing’ of qualitative research. The focus of this text ‘handling qualitative data’ will, I believe, be of great interest to nurse researchers, offering sound advice in an innovative format, based on the author’s extensive research career. Throughout the text, graphic representations in the form of icons are used to indicate four underpinning threads which run throughout the book. These are:

modelling visualising and drawing the process studied or the process of study

log trail telling or writing the process of handling data to inform claims to validity

teamwork working in teams at all levels of handling data

bigger projects working in teams at all levels of handing data.

The text is divided into three main sections Setting up, working the data, and making sense of the data.

The author begins in chapter 1by explicating the steps required to operationalise and set up a project successfully, which is particularly useful for the neophyte researcher or the postgraduate research student. At the end of each chapter the author maps out the pragmatic steps required to progress a qualitative research study and the associated analysis of data. This is accompanied by experiential exercises, suggested further reading and links

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modelling visualising and drawing the process studied or the process of study

log trail telling or writing the process of handling data to inform claims to validity

teamwork working in teams at all levels of handling data

bigger projects working in teams at all levels of handing data.

The text is divided into three main sections Setting up, working the data, and making sense of the data.

The author begins in chapter 1by explicating the steps required to operationalise and set up a project successfully, which is particularly useful for the neophyte researcher or the postgraduate research student. At the end of each chapter the author maps out the pragmatic steps required to progress a qualitative research study and the associated analysis of data. This is accompanied by experiential exercises, suggested further reading and links to the online tutorial on www.sagepub.co.uk/richards">http://www.sagepub.co.uk/richards">www.sagepub.co.uk/richards. This latter dimension provides an exciting and innovative aspect to text and the opportunity for readers to gain something beyond the expected theoretical perspectives. The configuration of the book is excellent and compels the reader to continue. The presentation of ideas is highly accessible and lucid.

The author goes on to explore the analysis of qualitative data in more depth, including the deconstruction and reconstruction of raw data, development of ideas, storage and record keeping. Central to this book is the notion that researchers will use qualitative analysis software, such as NUD*IST which the author developed. Indeed the associated web tutorial is integrated with NVivo tutorials. The final chapter maps out the essential requirements of a research report; this is a welcome addition, providing a ‘benchmark’ in terms of creating a robust and scientifically rigorous research report. A criticism of the text is perhaps the title really does not fully do justice to contents.

In summary, an excellent book. Nurse researchers at different points on their career trajectory will find value in this text.

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