Weiss Analysis of Data in the Qualitative Interview
Weiss, R. S. (1994). Learning from strangers: The art and method of qualitative interview studies. New York: The Free Press.
Chapter 6: Analysis of Data
- "When the report (and the analysis that led to it) are issue focused and generalized, we have the usual sociological account. When the report is issue focused and concrete, we have the usual historical or journalistic account. When the report is case focused and concrete, we have the usual case studies of individuals. When the report is case focused and generalized, we have typological description (p. 152)."
- All good reports tell a coherent story.
- The story told and the data must align.
- "An issue-focused description is likely to move from discussion of issues within one area to discussion of issues within another, with each area logically connected to the others (p. 154)."
- All four phases, coding, sorting, local integration, and inclusive integration, do not occur necessarily in a linear progression. Although coding is the starting point, other phases will influence others and result in a return to previous phases.
- First the material is dissected and placed into file folders based on a topic.
- "What happens next with the material is, first, 'local integration,' in which the material of the file folder is interpreted, and, second, 'inclusive integration,' in which the collection of file folders is organized into a coherent sequence (p. 157)."
- Local Integration
- Local integration is finding meaning or essentially summarizing the divided material that exists within one already sorted file folder. Local integration occurs within each sorted file folder.
- "A theory that makes sense of the materials is preferable to a descriptive summary of main lines and variations (p. 159)."
- "I find myself developing, from the very beginning of the study, 'minitheories,' hypotheses whose aim is to make sense of material dealing with specific issues or material within a particular sector (p. 159)."
- "My anticipation is that as minitheories become organized into more embracing theories, the truth value of the minitheories will be enhanced (p. 160)."
- Inclusive Integration
- "Inclusive integration knits into a single coherent story the otherwise isolated areas of analysis that result from local integration (p. 160)."
- "The problem in inclusive integration is to develop a framework that will include all the analyses the investigator wants to report, moves logically from one area to the next, and leads to some general conclusion (p. 160)."
- The framework may come from the interview guide, but it may need some refining.
- Inclusive integration is identifying the themes across all locally integrated minitheories and then organizing them into a logical sequence.
- Visual Display
- Visual display is a technique that is used to identify sequence. It involves physically spreading out the data in a large area in order to identify patterns and themes.
- A Generalized Issue-Focused Report
- An Issue-Focused Report at the Level of Concrete Material
- Two Case-Focused Reports at the Level of Concrete Material
Typologies as Generalizations from Concrete Cases
- Introducing types is a way of retaining the holistic character of the cases during generalization.
- Concrete Cases
- The Epistemological Status of Types
- "When most people invoke a type, they imply that the type captures essentials shared by all the instances it embraces (p. 175)."
- Types should be defined using observable characteristics.
- An Example of Generalized Case-Focused Analysis
The Demonstration of Causation
- "In qualitative interview studies the demonstration of causation rests heavily on the description of a visualizable sequence of events, each event flowing into the next (p. 179)."