Milestone reached

As I’m still struggling to put finger to keyboard, and add words to the thesis itself, I thought it would be useful to work on the Data Analysis part of the study.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m using Dedoose, and have got to know the software well over the last couple of months.  I’ve bitten the bullet and paid for a six month subscription, not cheap (compared to the zero-cost alternatives that I had through various institutions), but it’s done the job for me.  I’ve now completed the first round of data analysis for some 23 interviews carried out over the last year.

Of over 131,000 words of transcribed interview data, I’ve now got some 216 ‘chunks’ of data that I’ve categorised along some pretty broad brush strokes.  What I now need to do is to work through these, make sure I’ve coded correctly, maybe refine further in places, and then take this and build some compelling narratives using these, across the participants.  Not easy… but to be honest it’s easier to do than the Methodology Chapter is turning out to be.

Is this the end of the transcribing/coding trail for me?  No, not quite.  There may be supplementary questions I need to ask the participants, and I’ve also secured interviews with the Chief Executive of the organisation I’ve been working with, and another ‘big cheese’ within the company, who will help me make the all-important link back from the individuals back to the organisation itself.

So progress is being made.  Slow, almost imperceptible at times, but still progress.  Very soon I’ll hit the ‘six months to go’ marker, and then the pressure really will be on.  I still veer between absolute assurance that I’ll be fine and submit, and crippling self-doubt.  But I’m finding this post useful, especially point 8, thanks to a friend for pointing this out to me.



  1. Colin

    (Tried emailing but bounced back)

    Hi Andy,

    My name is Colin Mcelroy and I came across your PhD blog this evening. I’m doing a PhD in Education myself. I was interested in your comments on the Dedoose programme. I’m in the middle of my data collection and have yet to decide on a specific CAQDAS package. I’m thinking ahead to the data analysis phase. Would you recommend this (dedoose) package? How did you find it? Do you know of / recommend other CAQDAS programmes – Atlas ti, nVivio, MAXQDA?

    Many thanks in advance Andy for your help. All the best- Colin

    • Andy Hollyhead

      Apologies for my tardiness.. email andy at andyhollyhead dot co do uk should always get to me, sorry if you had a problem.
      The reason I chose Dedoose was pragmatic. I work on four different machines and three operating systems (Windows 7, Mac, and Chromebook), so needed something web based. The analysis I’m carrying out is not particularly onerous, though three dimensional (across time, across the cohort, across the individual).
      Dedoose works for me, but there is a financial cost, and there are more powerful packages out there. I tried nVivo, but struggled to run it on my Mac using Parallels (too slow). I have friends who swear by (and at Atlas.Ti), maybe they will respond to this post.
      Please keep in touch.

      • Colin

        Thanks a million for the feedback Andy. Dedoose looks like a good programme. My analysis is similar to yours. I’ve heard mixed reviews about nVivio- expensive and ergonomically ‘un’friendly!! Atlas ti and MAXQDA have received good reviews from colleagues. Better price-range too compared to nVivo. I’m veering towards MAXQDA. Layout, style, functions etc. all positive. Any thoughts / comments from your friends on these programmes would be most welcome. Many thanks again for your comments.

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