Dreolin Fleischer on Organizing Quantitative and Qualitative Data

Hi, my name is Dreolin Fleischer.  I am a doctoral student at Claremont Graduate University. I would like to share resources, at different price points, I have used to capture and organize qualitative and quantitative telephone interview data.

One resource I have used in the past is Microsoft Office Access. You can create a form in Access that mirrors the interview protocol you are using. You control where each field on each form is located and you can create multiple tabs for different interview questions.  As you conduct the interview you enter the interviewee’s responses directly into the field associated with the question you posed.  Cost: $$

I have used online survey programs (e.g., SurveyGizmo, SurveyMonkey, etc.) for the same purpose. You can create an online survey that mirrors the interview protocol you are using. You log into the online survey (as if you are taking the survey yourself) and enter the interviewee’s responses directly into the survey. At the completion of the interview, you can import the data (most of these programs allow you to import into Excel or SPSS files).  Cost: Free to $$ (depending on the online survey program you use)

I’ve yet to explore the tool myself, but I heard from a colleague that Google Documents now offers a way to develop online surveys for free: http://www.google.com/google-d-s/forms/.  Cost: Free

I prefer using the aforementioned resources because:

  • The forms I create help me stay organized and guide me through the interview when I am on the phone.
  • I have flexibility about how I organize the questions on the form (i.e., I can cluster questions together or isolate a single question according to my preference).
  • I can easily record both open-ended qualitative responses and close-ended quantitative responses using these resources.
  • It saves me time because the data is immediately available in a spreadsheet/table format at the conclusion of the interview.

I also use an audio recorder to record many of my interviews.  You can purchase audio recorders that connect to your landline phone or cell phone.  Of course you should always ask the interviewee permission before recording the interview.  I have had very few people refuse to be recorded. Keep in mind that recording interviews may not be appropriate for all data collection contexts.  You must weigh the pros and cons of using an audio recorder in relation to the information you are inquiring about.

This contribution is from the aea365 Daily Tips blog, by and for evaluators, from the American Evaluation Association. Please consider contributing – send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org.

4 thoughts on “Dreolin Fleischer on Organizing Quantitative and Qualitative Data”

  1. Dreolin Fleischer

    Thank you for your comments! Please allow me to clarify, the $ symbols I used in my post were meant to indicate approximate differences in cost.

    Microsoft Office Access (if you purchase from Microsoft Office online) is $229 or $109 if you buy it as part of a suite: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/access/default.aspx

    SurveyGizmo offers plans that range from free to $599 per month: http://www.surveygizmo.com/plans-pricing/

    SurveyMonkey offers plans that range from free to $19.95 per month: http://www.surveymonkey.com/Home_PricingDetail.aspx

    I hope this additional information is helpful!

  2. Dreolin,

    Thanks for the great post! Can you give us a bit of an idea regarding your cost scale (not sure how much $$ stands for)?

  3. Hi Dreolin,

    Thanks for the tips. MS Access is a *very* powerful tool. A few years back, I worked on a large study with a medical school that consisted of phone interviews. The entire data entry interface had MS Access at its core (with a basic UI placed on top for a little more user-friendliness). I find it quite reliable in storing data.

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