The Ground Floor of Government in Context
Edited by Peter Hupe
Chapter 21: Qualitative data analysis in implementation and street-level bureaucracy research
The traditional criticism of qualitative analysis is that it is subjective, opaque and impressionist. The chapter tackles the classic problem of confidence in the process and results of qualitative analysis by discussing its potential sources as well as offering solutions to each of these sources. In doing so, the chapter looks at the general practice of qualitative data work, but it especially highlights the issues and solutions of particular significance for implementation and street-level bureaucracy research. The focus is on four sets of issues: decontextualized collection and analysis of data; data overload and inadequate data retrieval; doubts about the quality of conclusions; and opaque documenting and reporting. By treating these issues as core sources of doubts in the credibility and dependability of qualitative research, the chapter offers and illustrates solutions that can be effectively employed as preventive measures or responses to shortcomings of qualitative data work.
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