Organizing "mountains of words" for data analysis, both qualitative and quantitative

Subst Use Misuse. 2010 Apr;45(5):648-70. doi: 10.3109/10826081003594757.


Qualitative research creates mountains of words. U.S. federal funding supports mostly structured qualitative research, which is designed to test hypotheses using semiquantitative coding and analysis. This article reports on strategies for planning, organizing, collecting, managing, storing, retrieving, analyzing, and writing about qualitative data so as to most efficiently manage the mountains of words collected in large-scale ethnographic projects. Multiple benefits accrue from this approach. Field expenditures are linked to units of work so productivity is measured, many staff in various locations have access to use and analyze the data, quantitative data can be derived from data that is primarily qualitative, and improved efficiencies of resources are developed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anthropology, Cultural / statistics & numerical data*
  • Data Collection / economics
  • Data Collection / methods
  • Data Collection / standards
  • Databases as Topic / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Qualitative Research
  • Research Design
  • Statistics as Topic / organization & administration*
  • Tape Recording