A Guidance Book for Lawyers, Legislators and Regulators
Chapter 8: Analyzing and visualizing quantitative and qualitative data
Data analysis is a body of methods that helps to describe facts, detect patterns, develop explanations and test theories. Quantitative data analysis describes, explains and evaluates phenomena by using mathematically based methods (in particular statistics) (Aliaga and Gunderson, 2005). Qualitative data analysis is the process and procedure whereby researchers move from qualitative data into (some form of) exploration, explanation, understanding or interpretation of people, situations, arrangements and ‘products’. More and more qualitative data are ‘digitized’ and become accessible to quantitative methods. For a long time ‘paradigm wars’ existed between both ‘branches’ but, partly due to innovations in the field of computer-assisted methods and Big Data (including sensor data), these ‘wars’ are disappearing. Sections 8.2 to 8.4 below deal with quantitative data analysis, while section 8.5 focuses on Big Data analysis, and section 8.6 on qualitative data analysis. Section 8.7 discusses combining qualitative and quantitative analysis, while section 8.8 presents information on data visualization. Section 8.9 discusses criteria to assess the (methodological) quality of data analyses while section 8.10 gives some guidance.
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