Episode Profiles: Capturing and Analyzing Holistic Stories of Each Data Collection Episode

Episode profiles are a core component of ResearchTalk’s Sort and Sift, Think and Shift data analytic approach.  The goal of an episode profile is to tell a holistic, vertical story of each interview, focus group, fieldnote, or other type of qualitative data collection episode.  Across a project, these accessible and representative stories of each case serve as a diagnostic and comparative tool that demonstrates each individual’s lived experience.

Drs. Maietta and Hamilton will walk course participants through the flexible processes of constructing episode profiles and the role they play though different phases of analysis. As a project begins, episode profiles start in several ways.  Analysts may identify “top quotations” from a datafile, begin memoing about document content, and/or create diagrams showing clusters of key quotations that suggest topics emerging during early analysis.  After researchers produce initial profiles, they mine their content to determine next steps. 

Using examples from their own research, Drs. Maietta and Hamilton will show different ways this flexible tool evolves.  For some projects, episode profiles become structured templates that serve as comparative tools across different types of participants, sites, stages of data collection, etc.  For other projects, episode profiles remain loose representations of each datafile that depict the distinctive ‘personalities’ of each case.  As projects move toward conclusion, episode profiles become pragmatic resources that contain potential material for reports, articles, book chapters and/or presentations.