At Matter of Focus we are passionate about the value of working well with qualitative data.

We shared our passion in a live learning webinar held in May 2021, which was attended by more than 60 people working with public service iniatives across the UK and internationally – all keen to take steps towards making better use of qualitative data in their work. The recording is available to watch below.

The value of working well with qualitative data

Making good use of qualitative data brings many benefits, such as: 

  • providing vital insights for learning and improvement, enabling your organisation to understand why and how things are working well, or not and what can be done about it.  
  • helping to centre the voices and experiences of people who use services, and staff. 
  • helping to demonstrate the outcomes and impact of your work.  

We know from our experience, that many organisations recognise the value of qualitative data and often collect lots of qualitative data, but lack the knowledge, confidence and tools to analyse this and to use it in support of their outcomes.

Get going with qualitative data

Getting going with qualitative data is much easier than you may think. By drawing on existing, practical sense making and critical analysis skills, supported by the right tools, you can analyse data to generate useful insights very quickly.  

In this webinar, we take you through the process from deciding when is the right time to use qualitative data, to some basic pointers on analysis and reporting. 

We cover the following:

  • What qualitative data is and isn’t and how it relates to quantitative data 
  • What kinds of questions and situations are best addressed with qualitative data 
  • Simple approaches to gathering qualitative data 
  • How to approach the qualitative analysis of existing data 
  • Some pointers for judging the quality of your evidence 
  • Some pointers on visualisation and presentation of qualitative data 

Using real examples, we break down the process of qualitative analysis and help you see how you can make a start in your work, as well as share some practical tools we use at Matter of Focus.

Watch the recording

About our webinar hosts

Co-director of Matter of Focus Ailsa Cook is a leader in the field of outcomes. Through her research and work with policy and practice, Ailsa has made a significant contribution to shifting the focus of public services in Scotland towards the outcomes that are important to citizens and communities. An expert in qualitative data analysis and service improvement, Ailsa has more than 20 years’ experience leading courses on qualitative data analysis.

Senior Research Consultant at Matter of Focus Helen Berry has over 15 years’ experience of research and evaluation in the field of children, young people and families. She has worked with qualitative data and evidence in various roles; in commissioning research and evaluation, as a funder, when supporting projects receiving awards, and in working directly as a researcher/evaluator on a range of studies from local to international. She has knowledge and experience of a range of methods for collecting qualitative data such as interviewing, focus groups, observation, structured reflection, and participative/creative approaches. Helen has a particular interest in finding ways for children and young people to bring forward their views and experiences that feel safe, engaging, fun and meaningful to them. Much of her work has focused on collating and analysing qualitative data to show impact.

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