Qualitative case study data analysis: an example from practice
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Qualitative case study data analysis: an example from practice

Catherine Houghton Lecturer, School of Nursing and Midwifery, National University of Ireland, Galway, Republic of Ireland
Kathy Murphy Professor of nursing, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland
David Shaw Lecturer, Open University, Milton Keynes, UK
Dympna Casey Senior lecturer, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland

Aim To illustrate an approach to data analysis in qualitative case study methodology.

Background There is often little detail in case study research about how data were analysed. However, it is important that comprehensive analysis procedures are used because there are often large sets of data from multiple sources of evidence. Furthermore, the ability to describe in detail how the analysis was conducted ensures rigour in reporting qualitative research.

Data sources The research example used is a multiple case study that explored the role of the clinical skills laboratory in preparing students for the real world of practice. Data analysis was conducted using a framework guided by the four stages of analysis outlined by Morse (1994): comprehending, synthesising, theorising and recontextualising. The specific strategies for analysis in these stages centred on the work of Miles and Huberman (1994), which has been successfully used in case study research. The data were managed using NVivo software.

Review methods Literature examining qualitative data analysis was reviewed and strategies illustrated by the case study example provided.

Discussion Each stage of the analysis framework is described with illustration from the research example for the purpose of highlighting the benefits of a systematic approach to handling large data sets from multiple sources.

Conclusion By providing an example of how each stage of the analysis was conducted, it is hoped that researchers will be able to consider the benefits of such an approach to their own case study analysis.

Implications for research/practice This paper illustrates specific strategies that can be employed when conducting data analysis in case study research and other qualitative research designs.

Nurse Researcher. 22, 5, 8-12. doi: 10.7748/nr.22.5.8.e1307

Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 02 February 2014

Accepted: 16 April 2014

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