Organizing and Interpreting Unstructured Qualitative Data

in The Sport Psychologist
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  • 1 University of Ottawa
  • | 2 Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute
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In the last several years there has been an increase in the amount of qualitative research using in-depth interviews and comprehensive content analyses in sport psychology. However, no explicit method has been provided to deal with the large amount of unstructured data. This article provides common guidelines for organizing and interpreting unstructured data. Two main operations are suggested and discussed: first, coding meaningful text segments, or creating tags, and second, regrouping similar text segments, or creating categories. Furthermore, software programs for the microcomputer are presented as a way to facilitate the organization and interpretation of qualitative data.

J. Côté, J.H. Salmela, and A. Baria are with the School of Human Kinetics at the University of Ottawa, 125 University, Ottawa, ON Canada K1N 6N5. S.J. Russell is with the Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute, 1600 Naismith Dr., Gloucester, ON Canada K1B 5N4.

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