How to Keep your Doctorate on Track
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How to Keep your Doctorate on Track

Insights from Students’ and Supervisors’ Experiences

Edited by Keith Townsend, Mark N.K. Saunders, Rebecca Loudoun and Emily A. Morrison

The path of a doctoral student can feel challenging and isolating. This guide provides doctoral students with key ideas and support to kick-start a doctoral journey, inspire progress and complete their thesis or dissertation. Featuring observations from experienced supervisors, as well as the reflections of current and recent postgraduate researchers, this intimate and entertaining book offers vital insights into the critical moments in any doctoral experience.
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Chapter 16: Strategies for analysing qualitative data: how to get started with making sense of all that material you’ve collected

Anette Hallin


The chapter provides ideas for how to go about analysing qualitative data. These are based on the author’s experiences while studying and subsequently working at universities in Northern Europe, where candidates are expected to undertake research for a thesis rather than for a dissertation. She begins by stressing the importance of writing regularly, before encouraging the student to reflect upon the state of the material and to organise it so that it’s readily available. After this, she reflects upon the possibility (and difficulty) of designing a strategy for the analytical process, which depends on the degree to which the student’s work is inductive. She provides an overview of three analytical strategies – sorting, reducing and building an argument – and ends with suggestions to ensure the presentation of the analysis meets the expectations of scientific rigour. A summary of learning points completes the contribution.

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