From Words to Numbers: How to Transform Qualitative Data into Meaningful Quantitative Results
Schmalenbach Business Review, Vol. 59, January 2007
30 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2007
In proposing a procedure for transforming qualitative data into quantitative results, we address the manifold requests for discovery-oriented research in the business disciplines. We present a systematic classification of combined qualitative-quantitative research designs and argue in favor of the generalization model. We give guidelines for its implementation and provide a blueprint for systematically converting respondents' words into numbers that can be used for further (statistical) analyses. We delimit and discuss the stages of unitization, categorization, and coding. We also raise quality issues and propose relevant quality criteria in the transformation process. In particular, we suggest the intercoder consistency-matrix for determining the incisiveness of categories developed through content analysis. Finally, we demonstrate in an exemplary study how the blueprint can be applied and highlight the benefits of the proposed research design.
Keywords: Combined Research Design, Content Analysis, Electronic Negotiations, Mixed-Method Research, Qualitative Research, Theory Development
JEL Classification: M19
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