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Chapter Five 1999 Post-Elections Period - Leicester Research ...

Chapter Five 1999 Post-Elections Period - Leicester Research ...

87 The overarching

87 The overarching reason is what Thompson (2002) identified as the mechanical ability of such software - the ability to manage, code and interpret large amounts of data. It would have been impossible to do a manual qualitative study with the data in the amounts used in this study. Yet such data was crucial for generalization at the end. As Gibbs, Friese & Mangabeira (2002) argue the prerequisite of really effective qualitative analysis is efficient, consistent and systematic data management. In manual qualitative data analysis, activities such as coding selected text, generating reports, finding key terms, and how they are used are quite time consuming, wearisome and error prone. Sadly, these are the activities that form the foundation of qualitative data analysis. Fortunately, it is these tasks that the computer can assist well with. Lewins and Silver (2007, p.8-11) assert, using CAQDAS enables the qualitative researcher to access all parts of her/his project immediately. All data is instantly accessible. The argument for CAQDAS in this research should not overshadow the fact that the researcher is the intellectual force behind the coding and interpreting. The CAQDAS is only a tool in the hands of the researcher. When it is understood that at the heart of frame analysis is the ability to code and interpret textual data, then the primacy of the researcher over CAQDAS will be fully understood. As Corbin and Strauss (2008, p.310) note, although CAQDAS can be helpful to the researcher to manage and manipulate textual data, these programmes are not capable of actually analysing the data. Thus, it is the researcher‟s duty to categorize, grade and code the data. The software helps to structure and maintain the categories, grades and codes as the researcher adds more and more information derived from the data to the categories, grades and codes. The task of interpreting and applying the codes remains strictly the researcher‟s. Thus, to all intents and purposes, the software does not divest the

88 researcher of the task of interpreting and coding. The researcher is the thinker driving the process of coding and analysis. It is this task, interpreting and coding, that lies at the heart of frame analysis. The software‟s primary advantage is in its efficiency: the ability to process large volumes of documents in a short time. 3.6.4 Data Size In considering the data in this research study, it is important to acknowledge that the purpose of qualitative research is to build on/up concepts/theory. While generalisation will emerge (especially from a comparative case study such as this one), generalisation from the case study to a larger population is not the main aim. The advantage of a case study approach lies in its potential “. . . to deal with the subtleties and intricacies of complex social situations . . .” and this potential, however, is best achieved by restricting the study to one or a few cases (Denscombe 1998, p. 35). Therefore, a potential weakness of case study is its purported representativeness of the larger population (Hammersley 1992). The decision about sample size also involves a trade- off between breadth and depth given the resource demands and the resources available. This study dealt with the concerns of breadth and depth by employing three case studies rather than one. Further, each case study had a comparative element to reveal the different framing in both corpora. In addition, all the editorials and opinion columns in each case study and each newspaper were included in the data. The same applied to parliamentary speeches. Thus, the data was as comprehensive as it could be. By including the entire population possible and by spreading out the case studies over a ten years period, the research study attempted to deal with the question of „thick description‟ without compromising on breadth.

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