Analyze qualitative data
1. Write down what exactly you want to discover from your analysis.
For example, you might want to know why your customers love your product, but leads seem very hesitant to purchase it.
2. Conduct an initial review of all the information you gathered and look for natural groupings, like common responses or customer demographic similarities.
Go in and look at responses individually to identify broad trends, then create a code for each grouping. The code is usually a word or short phrase that suggests how the associated data helps us reach the goals we set in the previous steps. Coding enables you to organize large amounts of text and to discover patterns that would be difficult to detect by reading alone. Codes answer the questions, What do I see going on here? or How do I categorize the information? For example, imagine that you ran a vegan meal plan service and sent out a survey to ask customers what attracted them to your service. You might receive responses that could be grouped into, too busy to cook, dietary restrictions, and want to eat healthier/lose weight.
3. Assign at least one code to as many answers as possible, and tally up how many of each you received.
You won’t be able to group all answers, and that’s OK. You’ll often need to tweak, add, and eliminate codes as you get a better understanding of the data.
4. Look for patterns in your data and groupings that can give you insight into your respondents, and help you to start building personas.
For example, you might find that women aged 20-40 who had children were more likely to answer too busy, whereas men aged 30-40, regardless of parenthood status, were mostly subscribing to lose weight. Record these patterns as skeletal personas. For example: Weight loss: male, 30-40, parent/not parent, worried about weight/health. Too busy: female, 20-40, children under 12, typically employed, time-poor.
5. Write a summary report of the findings.
Explain the initial questions you wanted to answer, your key learnings, and your initial personas. Combine them with other forms of research to formulate hypotheses. Use word clouds to visualize and complement your report.