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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Qualitative Data Analysis: Data organization

Resources on conducting qualitative data analysis

Organizing and managing qualitative data

File organizations as an analysis strategy 

Organizing your data is more than a clerical task; it can also be a strategy for analysis. Most QDA software offers the ability to organize your files, with some even offering the ability to organize data in multiple configurations. Each way of organizing becomes a new way of viewing your data. Some organizational strategies may be obvious: your might want to sort files by research site or date, or may have already done so. But as you get further into your analysis, you may realize there are additional organizational approaches that can provide insight, such as parental status as in the example below. 

An example in MAXQDA 

In the example illustrated below, we can see that the interview transcripts have been sorted into folders and sets.  Each interview transcript is in the Interviews folder. There is a also set for participants with children and for those without. These sets are now a way of looking across our data. Once we've coded the interviews, we can compare how the data looks in each set, as we're doing here using the Interactive Quote Matrix and the code for "Satisfied with flexibility." This organization and display of the data would allow us to explore how parents and non-parents describe their satisfaction with their schedule flexibility. 

Image showing the MAXQDA document pane and interactive quote matrix. The text reads By organizing interview transcripts into sets (for participants with and without children), we can then compare coded data across these groups.  This lets us explore questions, like: how do those without children describe their satisfaction with their schedule flexibility, compared to those with children?

Organizational Features in QDA Software

The MAXQDA is the same across Mac and Windows devices.