How to Use Qualitative Data in Education

What is qualitative data

Qualitative data is a type of data that is open to interpretation and can be used in a variety of ways- both as a measure of quality and as the basis for analysis. It describes the way things are and tells you why something is happening, rather than what is happening (for example, if a student isn’t doing well in math, qualitative data would tell you their reasons for this), rather than describing its characteristics or how much of it there is. Qualitative data is not numerical and does not have a set meaning, which makes it difficult to analyze. For educational institutions, understanding how to use qualitative data in education effectively can be crucial.

Using qualitative data in educational settings

Qualitative data provides insight into the learning experience that cannot always be expressed through numbers. It allows you to gain a richer understanding of how students are learning by asking open-ended questions and listening carefully to their answers. When you use qualitative data, you can investigate particular areas of concern for your organization and formulate action plans as needed.


There are many ways to get insights into the student experience using qualitative data, including:

  • Focus groups: Students, teachers, or parents can be invited to participate in a group discussion.
  • Field observations: Teachers and administrators could observe the classroom during different times of day, at different points during the year, or when a special event is happening.
  • Documentary research: School organizations can spend time looking closely at their current documents to learn more about student

How can a survey tool help with Qualitative Data Analysis in Education?

A survey tool is a useful research tool that can help with qualitative data analysis in education. Qualitative data is best analyzed through close inspection and asking questions to understand the root causes of phenomena, but this is a time-consuming process. A well-designed survey questionnaire can simplify the qualitative analysis by giving you insight into what most concerns your group and helping you to prioritize your responses.

Key steps to using a survey tool:

In order to successfully use a survey tool, you’ll need to:

Define your goal: What are you trying to accomplish? If you don’t know where you want the findings of your research project to lead, it will be difficult for people to provide feedback and difficult for you to analyze the results.

Choose your research method: What are your options? How will people be invited to give feedback, and where will this feedback come from? Identifying how participants/respondents/users will be asked about their experiences is an important first step.

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Methods to analyze qualitative data:

Content Analysis: The content of the data is analyzed through scrutinizing and interpreting texts, pictures, video, audio, and other materials. This involves looking at the words in a document, for example, and deciding their meaning.

Grounded Theory: To create a grounded theory you study what is happening in a particular situation and try to formulate a theory about why it happens. This process often begins with an initial assumption or question which will be tested out over time. For example: “How do we know when this process of analysis is finished?”

Phenomenology: Phenomenology looks at experiences from the perspective of those who experience them. It tries to understand what these experiences mean to people rather than the events themselves. This is relevant for understanding the learning experience of students in an educational setting.

Framework analysis: Framework analysis is a conversation with participants and then using the content of that discussion to analyze the data. It could involve asking individuals, “What was the knowledge you gained from this project?”, and then anonymizing their answers in order to avoid starting your article with personal stories.

– Discourse analysis: Discourse analysis looks at how language is used by individuals, and what the implications of those uses are. This can be helpful in a classroom setting where students use their voices to express themselves about their learning process within the walls of academia.

Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis: Interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA) helps you understand the

Qualitative data is a type of open-ended and interpretable data that can be used in various ways. Whether you’re trying to learn more about your customer’s experiences or the educational process, qualitative analysis will help get insights into what’s important for your project. If you want help analyzing the qualitative aspects of your research projects, we’re here to provide assistance with our survey tool! Let us know if there are any other information needs and we’ll work on providing an answer as soon as possible.

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