Collaborative Qualitative Analysis: A Technical Workflow

By Kimberly Hirsh

A key piece of our research process at the Equity in the Making Lab is conducting collaborative qualitative analysis. In this blog post and the next, I’ll share some of the crucial elements of our process thus far.

Our research approach is based in Charmazian Grounded Theory, so we knew that we would need to begin analyzing the interviews we collected with line-by-line data analysis. We needed to create a workflow that would allow us to code individually, compare our codes, and discuss how the coding scheme should evolve.

Because we are using MaxQDA for our data analysis, we rely heavily on MaxQDA’s Teamwork Feature. Our workflow uses this feature to enable us to code individually, import all of our codes into a central project document, and then continue to work individually in later rounds.

We use Microsoft Teams, OneNote, and OneDrive. The technical workflow goes something like this:

  1. Dr. Melo received the initial set of transcripts from our transcriptionist and uploaded them to OneDrive.
  2. Kimberly created the lab-wide MaxQDA project and imported the initial set of transcripts into it as documents.
  3. Kimberly created three copies of this MaxQDA project; each copy had one lab member’s name appended to the filename.
  4. Each lab member downloaded her respective MaxQDA project and coded the transcripts.
  5. After finishing coding, each lab member created a MaxQDA exchange file and uploaded it to the lab OneDrive.
  6. Each member also wrote a memo with her notes and reflections on the coding process and added it to a team notebook in OneNote.
  7. Kimberly imported each lab member’s exchange file into the lab-wide MaxQDA project.
  8. During our weekly meetings, we reviewed the coded documents, finding mostly agreement in our coding, and discussed our memos.
  9. Prior to the next meeting, Dr. Melo would upload new transcripts and each lab member would import them into her own MaxQDA project, code, and memo them.

Creating a technical workflow, of course, doesn’t capture the analytical components of the process. The next blog post, Collaborative Qualitative Analysis: An Analytical Workflow, will address our analytical process.