“Using Qualitative Data” (a shout out to Susan Eliot)

A quick, but long overdue post this week on some recommended reading:

Susan Eliot, a wonderfully thoughtful qualitative researcher, recently posted to her blog on the topic of “Using Qualitative Data“. I really enjoyed this post and found it a nice reminder of how qualitative data can be just as helpful as quantitative data (if not more so in many cases) when trying to understand how and where to make improvements.

Ms. Eliot opens the post with “All qualitative data doesn’t need to end up in a formal written report to make it useful. In fact, very often the opposite is true.” Yes! Here she is speaking not only to what makes data useful, but also to the connection between use and reporting/sharing data and findings.

Ms. Eliot describes how she shares data with her clients openly and states wisely that “…the hand-off doesn’t end there. Because qualitative results require a bit more skill to interpret and apply than quantitative data, I like to spend time talking with the client about how to get the most out of the data and use it in an objective, thoughtful way.

Susan even lists 8 great guidelines for sharing qualitative data with clients in circumstances where the client doesn’t want (or want to wait for) a report. But you’ll have to read her post to learn about those. 😉 Though I will say I think she’s articulated some pretty great ‘best practices’ for working with data more broadly as well.

In the interest of fair disclosure, I have to confess that I know Susan, and personally believe she does good work. 😀

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