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Analyzing Qualitative Data
May 14, 2015
Later today we are releasing a small update for Quirkos, which adds an important feature users have been requesting: the ability to quickly bring in quantitative and qualitative data from any spreadsheet, or online survey tool such as SurveyMonkey or LimeSurvey.
Now, users can bring in mixed-method data in one click, with the ability to analyse and compare qualitative and quantitative data together. If you have a survey with discrete and quantitative data (such as age, location, or Likert scales) you can use them to stratify and compare open-ended qualitative answers (the Any other comments? Or How can we improve this service?).
Not only will this make bringing data into Quirkos a lot quicker, it will provide a neat workflow for people wanting to understand the qualitative aspects of their data. Now they can code and develop frameworks to understand comments and written data sources, which may hold the key to understanding something important that isn’t shown in the quantitative data.
In Quirkos, this functionality is provided as a new option in the ‘Add Source’ button on the bottom left of a project. Users should create a new ‘Structured Question’ project, which gives the same Questions as sections in the qualitative text of the source. The discrete and quantitative data will be imported as source properties which describe each response in the survey.
To bring spreadsheet or tabulated data into Quirkos, you need to have it in CSV format (comma separated variables) which is a standard file format that most platforms can use to export data. If that format is not supported by your data collection workflow, as long as it can be imported into Excel or another spreadsheet package such as Google Docs or LibreOffice Calc. All these packages allow you to save a table of data in CSV format, and you should select the default comma, not tab separated format. The first row, should be the titles you want the properties and questions to be.
Quirkos will try and automatically guess which columns represent discrete properties (such as name or age) and which ones are sentences. It does this in a simple way: any row titles with a question, such as “How did you feel about this event?” will become a long-text qualitative question and answer, or if the answer contains spaces like a sentence structure. Otherwise, it will suggest import as a source property for a value like age or name. If this does not come through as you wish, there is the drop-down option to change how that row is imported.
This provides 4 options. Source Title is the name you wish to give each source in the project. This might be a name, or a ID number – and you can only select one property to be the source title. Property is for source properties, the quantitative or discrete data that describes the source. Question is for the open ended qualitative text sections, and finally there is an option for ‘Ignore’ if there was a field or value you did not want to bring into the project.
It is possible to keep adding more and more sources in this way, for example if you had later additions to a survey. However, it will also create duplicates of data already in the project (in case something changed) so make sure that a new CSV file being imported doesn’t contain the old responses.
If you already have Quirkos, all you need to do is download the new installer for version 1.2 for Windows or Mac, and follow the install procedure. This will install the new version over the old one (v1.1) and there will be no changes to your shortcuts, projects or license. The update is free for everyone, even if you are using the free-trial, and once again, there are no compatibility problems with older project files.