My name is SaraJoy Pond, and I am a doctoral candidate at Brigham Young University. I’m particularly interested in evaluation capacity-building for social change.
Cool Trick: Chances are, if you’ve worked at all with qualitative data sets, you know the feeling of “drowning in data.” The end of an evaluation engagement often leaves me swimming in reams of interview transcripts, gigabytes of video, and hours of audio (somehow always virtually inaudible) wondering “where do I even start!?” Wordle is a free web-based word cloud generator, has come to my rescue many times. Simply paste in your transcripts or notes and in seconds, you’re looking at an intuitive visualization of “themes” from the text.
Though the tool itself relies on “quantification” (as compared to true qualitative analysis, my professors inform me) I find it invaluable for wrapping my head around that first stage of qualitative data analysis.
TIPS 2 TRY:
- Sort the responses to a question by stakeholder group, then compare the resulting wordle images to see differences in how each group responded.
- Make periodic wordles of your own field notes to see how your impressions, interpretations and judgments varied or evolved over the course of a study.
- Include a wordle image in your evaluation report to help stakeholders see how the themes you discuss “emerged.”
Wordle is available at http://www.wordle.net/
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.