Shifting Analytic Direction with Final Products in Mind: Using the ‘Sort and Sift' Toolkit

In every qualitative project there is a point where analysts move from processing individual data documents to giving careful thought and attention to what content they will present and how this material will be presented to audiences. Phase 2 of ResearchTalk’s Sort and Sift, Think and Shift analysis process is driven by a toolkit that directs this important shift in the analysis process. This toolkit can be used regardless of whether or not you employed earlier phase Sort and Sift techniques.

A first beneficial step in this transition involves mining through memos, code topics, document summaries and episode profiles. As researchers review their analytic work, memoing and diagramming techniques help them discover, understand and document important connections within and across data documents.

A second component of this transition features a question and answer procedure we call “bridging.” Two bridging tools we highlight are a “story evolution tool” and a “code combination tool.” The story evolution tool introduces a process of interrogating data to understand better how key actors, places, time periods, actions, attitudes and emotions interact in the lives of our participants. The code combination tool introduces a set of techniques to discern shared meaning between and among code categories.