Frequently asked questions

What statistical results do you need to report according to apa style.

According to the APA guidelines, you should report enough detail on inferential statistics so that your readers understand your analyses.

Report the following for each hypothesis test:

  • the test statistic value
  • the degrees of freedom
  • the exact p value (unless it is less than 0.001)
  • the magnitude and direction of the effect

You should also present confidence intervals and estimates of effect sizes where relevant.

Frequently asked questions: APA Style

APA footnotes use superscript numbers and should appear in numerical order. You can place footnotes at the bottom of the relevant pages, or on a separate footnotes page at the end:

  • For footnotes at the bottom of the page, you can use your word processor to automatically insert footnotes .
  • For footnotes at the end of the text in APA, place them on a separate page entitled “Footnotes,” after the r eference page . Indent the first line of each footnote, and double-space them.

For both approaches, place a space between the superscript number and the footnote text.

APA Style requires you to use APA in-text citations , not footnotes, to cite sources .

However, you can use APA footnotes sparingly for two purposes:

  • Giving additional information
  • Providing copyright attribution

Yes, APA language guidelines state that you should always use the serial comma (aka Oxford comma ) in your writing.

This means including a comma before the word “and” at the end of a list of three or more items: “spelling, grammar, and punctuation.” Doing this consistently tends to make your lists less ambiguous.

Yes, it’s perfectly valid to write sentences in the passive voice . The APA language guidelines do caution against overusing the passive voice, because it can obscure your meaning or be needlessly long-winded. For this reason, default to the active voice in most cases.

The passive voice is most useful when the point of the sentence is just to state what was done, not to emphasize who did it. For example, “The projector was mounted on the wall” is better than “James and I mounted the projector on the wall” if it’s not particularly important who mounted the projector.

Yes, APA language guidelines encourage you to use the first-person pronouns “I” or “we” when referring to yourself or a group including yourself in your writing.

In APA Style, you should not refer to yourself in the third person. For example, do not refer to yourself as “the researcher” or “the author” but simply as “I” or “me.” Referring to yourself in the third person is still common practice in some academic fields, but APA Style rejects this convention.

If you cite several sources by the same author or group of authors, you’ll distinguish between them in your APA in-text citations using the year of publication.

If you cite multiple sources by the same author(s) at the same point , you can just write the author name(s) once and separate the different years with commas, e.g., (Smith, 2020, 2021).

To distinguish between sources with the same author(s) and  the same publication year, add a different lowercase letter after the year for each source, e.g., (Smith, 2020, 2021a, 2021b). Add the same letters to the corresponding reference entries .

The number of decimal places to report depends on what you’re reporting. Generally, you should aim to round numbers while retaining precision. It’s best to present fewer decimal digits to aid easy understanding.

Use one decimal place for:

  • Standard deviations
  • Descriptive statistics based on discrete data

Use two decimal places for:

  • Correlation coefficients
  • Proportions
  • Inferential test statistics such as t values, F values, and chi-squares.

No, including a URL is optional in APA Style reference entries for legal sources (e.g. court cases , laws ). It can be useful to do so to aid the reader in retrieving the source, but it’s not required, since the other information included should be enough to locate it.

Generally, you should identify a law in an APA reference entry by its location in the United States Code (U.S.C.).

But if the law is either spread across various sections of the code or not featured in the code at all, include the public law number in addition to information on the source you accessed the law in, e.g.:

You should report methods using the past tense , even if you haven’t completed your study at the time of writing. That’s because the methods section is intended to describe completed actions or research.

In your APA methods section , you should report detailed information on the participants, materials, and procedures used.

  • Describe all relevant participant or subject characteristics, the sampling procedures used and the sample size and power .
  • Define all primary and secondary measures and discuss the quality of measurements.
  • Specify the data collection methods, the research design and data analysis strategy, including any steps taken to transform the data and statistical analyses.

With APA legal citations, it’s recommended to cite all the reporters (publications reporting cases) in which a court case appears. To cite multiple reporters, just separate them with commas in your reference entry . This is called parallel citation .

Don’t repeat the name of the case, court, or year; just list the volume, reporter, and page number for each citation. For example:

In APA Style , when you’re citing a recent court case that has not yet been reported in print and thus doesn’t have a specific page number, include a series of three underscores (___) where the page number would usually appear:

In APA style, statistics can be presented in the main text or as tables or figures . To decide how to present numbers, you can follow APA guidelines:

  • To present three or fewer numbers, try a sentence,
  • To present between 4 and 20 numbers, try a table,
  • To present more than 20 numbers, try a figure.

Since these are general guidelines, use your own judgment and feedback from others for effective presentation of numbers.

In an APA results section , you should generally report the following:

  • Participant flow and recruitment period.
  • Missing data and any adverse events.
  • Descriptive statistics about your samples.
  • Inferential statistics , including confidence intervals and effect sizes.
  • Results of any subgroup or exploratory analyses, if applicable.

When citing a podcast episode in APA Style , the podcast’s host is listed as author , accompanied by a label identifying their role, e.g. Glass, I. (Host).

When citing a whole podcast series, if different episodes have different hosts, list the executive producer(s) instead. Again, include a label identifying their role, e.g. Lechtenberg, S. (Producer).

Like most style guides , APA recommends listing the book of the Bible you’re citing in your APA in-text citation , in combination with chapter and verse numbers. For example:

Books of the Bible may be abbreviated to save space; a list of standard abbreviations can be found here . Page numbers are not used in Bible citations.

Yes, in the 7th edition of APA Style , versions of the Bible are treated much like other books ; you should include the edition you used in your reference list .

Previously, in the 6th edition of the APA manual, it was recommended to just use APA 6 in-text citations to refer to the Bible, and omit it from the reference list.

To make it easy for the reader to find the YouTube video , list the person or organization who uploaded the video as the author in your reference entry and APA in-text citation .

If this isn’t the same person responsible for the content of the video, you might want to make this clear in the text. For example:

When you need to highlight a specific moment in a video or audio source, use a timestamp in your APA in-text citation . Just include the timestamp from the start of the part you’re citing. For example:

To include a direct quote in APA , follow these rules:

  • Quotes under 40 words are placed in double quotation marks .
  • Quotes of 40 words or more are formatted as block quote .
  • The author, year, and page number are included in an APA in-text citation .

APA doesn’t require you to include a list of tables or a list of figures . However, it is advisable to do so if your text is long enough to feature a table of contents and it includes a lot of tables and/or figures .

A list of tables and list of figures appear (in that order) after your table of contents, and are presented in a similar way.

Copyright information can usually be found wherever the table or figure was published. For example, for a diagram in a journal article , look on the journal’s website or the database where you found the article. Images found on sites like Flickr are listed with clear copyright information.

If you find that permission is required to reproduce the material, be sure to contact the author or publisher and ask for it.

If you adapt or reproduce a table or figure from another source, you should include that source in your APA reference list . You should also include copyright information in the note for the table or figure, and include an APA in-text citation when you refer to it.

Tables and figures you created yourself, based on your own data, are not included in the reference list.

An APA in-text citation is placed before the final punctuation mark in a sentence.

  • The company invested over 40,000 hours in optimizing its algorithm (Davis, 2011) .
  • A recent poll suggests that EU membership “would be backed by 55 percent of Danish voters” in a referendum (Levring, 2018) .

In an APA in-text citation , you use the phrase “ as cited in ” if you want to cite a source indirectly (i.e., if you cannot find the original source).

Parenthetical citation: (Brown, 1829, as cited in Mahone, 2018) Narrative citation: Brown (1829, as cited in Mahone, 2018) states that…

On the reference page , you only include the secondary source (Mahone, 2018).

Popular word processors like Microsoft Word and Google Docs can order lists in alphabetical order, but they don’t follow the APA Style alphabetization guidelines .

If you use Scribbr’s APA Citation Generator to create citations, references are ordered automatically based on the APA guidelines, taking into account all the exceptions.

Order numerals as though they were spelled out:

  • “20 tips to relax” is ordered on the “T” of “Twenty”.
  • “100 cities you should visit” is ordered on the “O” of “One hundred”.

Read more about alphabetizing the APA reference page .

If the author of a work is unknown, order the reference by its title. Disregard the words “A”, “An”, and “The” at the beginning of the title.

  • The privacy concerns around social media
  • Teens, social media, and privacy

Yes, if relevant you can and should include APA in-text citations in your appendices . Use author-date citations as you do in the main text.

Any sources cited in your appendices should appear in your reference list . Do not create a separate reference list for your appendices.

When you include more than one appendix in an APA Style paper , they should be labeled “Appendix A,” “Appendix B,” and so on.

When you only include a single appendix, it is simply called “Appendix” and referred to as such in the main text.

Appendices in an APA Style paper appear right at the end, after the reference list and after your tables and figures if you’ve also included these at the end.

An appendix contains information that supplements the reader’s understanding of your research but is not essential to it. For example:

  • Interview transcripts
  • Questionnaires
  • Detailed descriptions of equipment

Something is only worth including as an appendix if you refer to information from it at some point in the text (e.g. quoting from an interview transcript). If you don’t, it should probably be removed.

If you adapt or reproduce a table or figure from another source, you should include that source in your APA reference list . You should also acknowledge the original source in the note or caption for the table or figure.

APA doesn’t require you to include a list of tables or a list of figures . However, it is advisable to do so if your text is long enough to feature a table of contents and it includes a lot of tables and/or figures.

A list of tables and list of figures appear (in that order) after your table of contents , and are presented in a similar way.

In an APA Style paper , use a table or figure when it’s a clearer way to present important data than describing it in your main text. This is often the case when you need to communicate a large amount of information.

Before including a table or figure in your text, always reflect on whether it’s useful to your readers’ understanding:

  • Could this information be quickly summarized in the text instead?
  • Is it important to your arguments?
  • Does the table or figure require too much explanation to be efficient?

If the data you need to present only contains a few relevant numbers, try summarizing it in the text (potentially including full data in an appendix ). If describing the data makes your text overly long and difficult to read, a table or figure may be the best option.

In an APA Style paper , the abstract is placed on a separate page after the title page (page 2).

An APA abstract is around 150–250 words long. However, always check your target journal’s guidelines and don’t exceed the specified word count.

In APA Style , all sources that are not retrievable for the reader are cited as personal communications . In other words, if your source is private or inaccessible to the audience of your paper , it’s a personal communication.

Common examples include conversations, emails, messages, letters, and unrecorded interviews or performances.

Interviews you conducted yourself are not included in your reference list , but instead cited in the text as personal communications .

Published or recorded interviews are included in the reference list. Cite them in the usual format of the source type (for example, a newspaper article , website or YouTube video ).

To cite a public post from social media , use the first 20 words of the post as a title, include the date it was posted and a URL, and mention the author’s username if they have one:

Dorsey, J. [@jack]. (2018, March 1). We’re committing Twitter to help increase the collective health, openness, and civility of public conversation, and to hold ourselves publicly [Tweet]. Twitter.

To cite content from social media that is not publicly accessible (e.g. direct messages, posts from private groups or user profiles), cite it as a personal communication in the text, but do not include it in the reference list :

When contacted online, the minister stated that the project was proceeding “according to plan” (R. James, Twitter direct message, March 25, 2017).

When you quote or paraphrase a specific passage from a source, you need to indicate the location of the passage in your APA in-text citation . If there are no page numbers (e.g. when citing a website ) but the text is long, you can instead use section headings, paragraph numbers, or a combination of the two:

(Caulfield, 2019, Linking section, para. 1).

Section headings can be shortened if necessary. Kindle location numbers should not be used in ebook citations , as they are unreliable.

If you are referring to the source as a whole, it’s not necessary to include a page number or other marker.

When no individual author name is listed, but the source can clearly be attributed to a specific organization—e.g., a press release by a charity, a report by an agency, or a page from a company’s website—use the organization’s name as the author in the reference entry and APA in-text citations .

When no author at all can be determined—e.g. a collaboratively edited wiki or an online article published anonymously—use the title in place of the author. In the in-text citation, put the title in quotation marks if it appears in plain text in the reference list, and in italics if it appears in italics in the reference list. Shorten it if necessary.

APA Style usually does not require an access date. You never need to include one when citing journal articles , e-books , or other stable online sources.

However, if you are citing a website or online article that’s designed to change over time, it’s a good idea to include an access date. In this case, write it in the following format at the end of the reference: Retrieved October 19, 2020, from

The 7th edition APA Manual , published in October 2019, is the most current edition. However, the 6th edition, published in 2009, is still used by many universities and journals.

The APA Manual 7th edition can be purchased at Amazon as a hardcover, paperback or spiral-bound version. You can also buy an ebook version at RedShelf .

The American Psychological Association anticipates that most people will start using the 7th edition in the spring of 2020 or thereafter.

It’s best to ask your supervisor or check the website of the journal you want to publish in to see which APA guidelines you should follow.

If you’re citing from an edition other than the first (e.g. a 2nd edition or revised edition), the edition appears in the reference, abbreviated in parentheses after the book’s title (e.g. 2nd ed. or Rev. ed.).

In the 7th edition of the APA manual, no location information is required for publishers. The 6th edition previously required you to include the city and state where the publisher was located, but this is no longer the case.

In an APA reference list , journal article citations include only the year of publication, not the exact date, month, or season.

The inclusion of volume and issue numbers makes a more specific date unnecessary.

In an APA journal citation , if a DOI (digital object identifier) is available for an article, always include it.

If an article has no DOI, and you accessed it through a database or in print, just omit the DOI.

If an article has no DOI, and you accessed it through a website other than a database (for example, the journal’s own website), include a URL linking to the article.

You may include up to 20 authors in a reference list entry .

When an article has more than 20 authors, replace the names prior to the final listed author with an ellipsis, but do not omit the final author:

Davis, Y., Smith, J., Caulfield, F., Pullman, H., Carlisle, J., Donahue, S. D., James, F., O’Donnell, K., Singh, J., Johnson, L., Streefkerk, R., McCombes, S., Corrieri, L., Valck, X., Baldwin, F. M., Lorde, J., Wardell, K., Lao, W., Yang, P., . . . O’Brien, T. (2012).

Include the DOI at the very end of the APA reference entry . If you’re using the 6th edition APA guidelines, the DOI is preceded by the label “doi:”. In the 7th edition , the DOI is preceded by ‘’.

  • 6th edition: doi: 10.1177/0894439316660340
  • 7th edition: 10.1177/0894439316660340

APA citation example (7th edition)

Hawi, N. S., & Samaha, M. (2016). The relations among social media addiction, self-esteem, and life satisfaction in university students. Social Science Computer Review , 35 (5), 576–586.

When citing a webpage or online article , the APA in-text citation consists of the author’s last name and year of publication. For example: (Worland & Williams, 2015). Note that the author can also be an organization. For example: (American Psychological Association, 2019).

If you’re quoting you should also include a locator. Since web pages don’t have page numbers, you can use one of the following options:

  • Paragraph number: (Smith, 2018, para. 15).
  • Heading or section name: ( CDC, 2020, Flu Season section)
  • Abbreviated heading:  ( CDC, 2020, “Key Facts” section)

Always include page numbers in the APA in-text citation when quoting a source . Don’t include page numbers when referring to a work as a whole – for example, an entire book or journal article.

If your source does not have page numbers, you can use an alternative locator such as a timestamp, chapter heading or paragraph number.

Instead of the author’s name, include the first few words of the work’s title in the in-text citation. Enclose the title in double quotation marks when citing an article, web page or book chapter. Italicize the title of periodicals, books, and reports.

No publication date

If the publication date is unknown , use “n.d.” (no date) instead. For example: (Johnson, n.d.).

The abbreviation “ et al. ” (meaning “and others”) is used to shorten APA in-text citations with three or more authors . Here’s how it works:

Only include the first author’s last name, followed by “et al.”, a comma and the year of publication, for example (Taylor et al., 2018).

APA Style papers should be written in a font that is legible and widely accessible. For example:

  • Times New Roman (12pt.)
  • Arial (11pt.)
  • Calibri (11pt.)
  • Georgia (11pt.)

The same font and font size is used throughout the document, including the running head , page numbers, headings , and the reference page . Text in footnotes and figure images may be smaller and use single line spacing.

The easiest way to set up APA format in Word is to download Scribbr’s free APA format template for student papers or professional papers.

Alternatively, you can watch Scribbr’s 5-minute step-by-step tutorial or check out our APA format guide with examples.

You need an APA in-text citation and reference entry . Each source type has its own format; for example, a webpage citation is different from a book citation .

Use Scribbr’s free APA Citation Generator to generate flawless citations in seconds or take a look at our APA citation examples .

APA format is widely used by professionals, researchers, and students in the social and behavioral sciences, including fields like education, psychology, and business.

Be sure to check the guidelines of your university or the journal you want to be published in to double-check which style you should be using.

Yes, page numbers are included on all pages, including the title page , table of contents , and reference page . Page numbers should be right-aligned in the page header.

To insert page numbers in Microsoft Word or Google Docs, click ‘Insert’ and then ‘Page number’.

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apa data analysis

  • APA Format of Data Analysis

Best Practices for a Data Analysis Chapter as per APA Formatting

So, you have done your research and performed analysis on your data to verify it for reliability. You might have used tools like SPSS, STATA, ANOVA, SAS, etc. But, are all your efforts thrown out the window if not presented correctly? Yes, it’s all about presenting your data and formatting it in an approved manner to spotlight the ideas being presented. The outcome of the statistical tests performed in data analysis is organized and presented in tables and figures. APA formatting is used for the proper construction of tables and figures (graphs, pictures, charts, drawings and maps) of data analysis chapter. It consists of rules of style that are used to enhance this presentation so that other researchers can find it easy to understand your research ideas. The goal of this article is to point out the problems encountered and their respective solutions to perform appropriate APA formatting for your data analysis chapter. Here’s how you can construct tables and figures of data analysis chapter as per APA formatting.

The format of all the tables and figures in a data analysis chapter should be the same with same name and scale. They should appear before the appendices. One table should fit on one page and if not, then try to reduce or increase its data or line spacing. You can use landscape orientation if the table is too long. Set uniform margins of at least 1 in. (2.54 cm) on the top, bottom, left, and right of every page.

The following descriptive table is an example of an APA formatted table describing all the major parts.


Table number: This part of the table lies at the left most corner above the title in non-italic form. It should be numbered using Arabic numerals in a sequential manner. For example Table 1, Table 2, etc.

Title: It should be very precise describing the contents of the table in an italic form. For journal publication, double-spacing is required else single spaced can be applied.

Headings: They should be kept brief while explaining the organization of the table. All the columns must have a heading. The first heading of the first column is referred to as stub head. Abbreviations can be used for better presentation.

Table Body: It consists of the actual content of the table. The unit of measurement and number of decimal places should never be changed throughout the table. They should be consistent.

Table Notes: Notes are placed at the bottom of the table. They are meant to elaborate the contents of the table, or to eliminate any redundancy of data, or to indicate statistical significance. They are of three types, general, specific, probability. They should be listed with general notes first, then specific notes, and concluded with probability notes, without indentation. They may be single-spaced for better presentation. Explain all uses of dashes and parentheses. Abbreviations for technical terms, group names, and those of a similar nature must be explained in a note to the table.

Note: The vertical lines are generally not used whereas horizontal lines are used under the table title, headings and after body.

Step by step example to format a SPSS output table:

An SPSS output is generated while performing statistical tests during the data analysis of your research. Following is a step by step guide on how to format a SPSS output according to APA format in MS Word 2013.


2. Adding the horizontal lines • According to APA format, only horizontal lines are required • At Home go to the Paragraph section, click on Border and enable View Gridlines


• Right click on the table and select Borders and Shadings


• Select Custom in the Setting section and on the Preview section, select the upper and lower buttons to insert upper and lower horizontal lines of the table. • Apply to Table • Click Ok • Select the first row of your table and right click to go to Borders and Shading tab • Select Custom and lower button on the preview section • Apply to cell • Click Ok


3. Correcting the line spacing • Select the table and click on paragraph dialog box button • In the Indents and Spacing section, set Line spacing to Single • Set Before and After Spacing to 6pt


• Enter the contents of the table This is how your table will look like:


4. Adjusting the column widths The headings in the APA table should be center aligned, the stub headings should be left aligned while the cell content should be decimal aligned and in center under the headings. • Select the first row of your table and enable Center alignment from the toolbar


Also, there should be no wrapped text in the APA formatted table. In the above example, “Statistical Tests” is in wrapped form. To unwrap text, increase the column width. • Right click on the first column and select Table Properties


• Go to the Column section and tick the checkbox beside Preferred width • Set it on 2” • Click Ok • For aligning the cells of the table, select them and click the paragraph dialog box button .


• Select Tabs button • Click Clear all and set Alignment to Decimal • Enter the Tab stop position 0.2”


• Now disable the View gridlines by selecting the Border button of the Paragraph section • With the table number and title, this is how the APA formatted table should look like:


Formatting of Figures

Figures are the graphical presentation of data. They can be graphs, charts, photographs, maps or diagrams. Generally, the construction of tables and figures requires same concepts of implementation. Figures are the best visual presentation for information that is hard to interpret through text. Following are some guidelines to follow while formatting any type of figure:

1. Figures are numbered using Arabic numerals in a sequential manner. Each table and figure should be numbered separately. For example, Table 1, Table 2, Figure 1, etc. 2. The figure caption should be very precise with proper explanation of the figure content. 3. The figure number should be italicized, but not the figure caption. 4. The figure caption text should be in sentence case with the first letter capitalized.


If you are still doubtful and in dire need of any assistance for formatting your data analysis chapter as per APA formatting, feel free to contact us at [email protected]

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Qualitative Data Analysis: What is it, Methods + Examples

Explore qualitative data analysis with diverse methods and real-world examples. Uncover the nuances of human experiences with this guide.

In a world rich with information and narrative, understanding the deeper layers of human experiences requires a unique vision that goes beyond numbers and figures. This is where the power of qualitative data analysis comes to light.

In this blog, we’ll learn about qualitative data analysis, explore its methods, and provide real-life examples showcasing its power in uncovering insights.

What is Qualitative Data Analysis?

Qualitative data analysis is a systematic process of examining non-numerical data to extract meaning, patterns, and insights.

In contrast to quantitative analysis, which focuses on numbers and statistical metrics, the qualitative study focuses on the qualitative aspects of data, such as text, images, audio, and videos. It seeks to understand every aspect of human experiences, perceptions, and behaviors by examining the data’s richness.

Companies frequently conduct this analysis on customer feedback. You can collect qualitative data from reviews, complaints, chat messages, interactions with support centers, customer interviews, case notes, or even social media comments. This kind of data holds the key to understanding customer sentiments and preferences in a way that goes beyond mere numbers.

Importance of Qualitative Data Analysis

Qualitative data analysis plays a crucial role in your research and decision-making process across various disciplines. Let’s explore some key reasons that underline the significance of this analysis:

  • In-Depth Understanding

It enables you to explore complex and nuanced aspects of a phenomenon, delving into the ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions. This method provides you with a deeper understanding of human behavior, experiences, and contexts that quantitative approaches might not capture fully.

  • Contextual Insight

You can use this analysis to give context to numerical data. It will help you understand the circumstances and conditions that influence participants’ thoughts, feelings, and actions. This contextual insight becomes essential for generating comprehensive explanations.

  • Theory Development

You can generate or refine hypotheses via qualitative data analysis. As you analyze the data attentively, you can form hypotheses, concepts, and frameworks that will drive your future research and contribute to theoretical advances.

  • Participant Perspectives

When performing qualitative research, you can highlight participant voices and opinions. This approach is especially useful for understanding marginalized or underrepresented people, as it allows them to communicate their experiences and points of view.

  • Exploratory Research

The analysis is frequently used at the exploratory stage of your project. It assists you in identifying important variables, developing research questions, and designing quantitative studies that will follow.

Types of Qualitative Data

When conducting qualitative research, you can use several qualitative data collection methods, and here you will come across many sorts of qualitative data that can provide you with unique insights into your study topic. These data kinds add new views and angles to your understanding and analysis.

  • Interviews and Focus Groups

Interviews and focus groups will be among your key methods for gathering qualitative data. Interviews are one-on-one talks in which participants can freely share their thoughts, experiences, and opinions.

Focus groups, on the other hand, are discussions in which members interact with one another, resulting in dynamic exchanges of ideas. Both methods provide rich qualitative data and direct access to participant perspectives.

  • Observations and Field Notes

Observations and field notes are another useful sort of qualitative data. You can immerse yourself in the research environment through direct observation, carefully documenting behaviors, interactions, and contextual factors.

These observations will be recorded in your field notes, providing a complete picture of the environment and the behaviors you’re researching. This data type is especially important for comprehending behavior in their natural setting.

  • Textual and Visual Data

Textual and visual data include a wide range of resources that can be qualitatively analyzed. Documents, written narratives, and transcripts from various sources, such as interviews or speeches, are examples of textual data.

Photographs, films, and even artwork provide a visual layer to your research. These forms of data allow you to investigate what is spoken and the underlying emotions, details, and symbols expressed by language or pictures.

When to Choose Qualitative Data Analysis over Quantitative Data Analysis

As you begin your research journey, understanding why the analysis of qualitative data is important will guide your approach to understanding complex events. If you analyze qualitative data, it will provide new insights that complement quantitative methodologies, which will give you a broader understanding of your study topic.

It is critical to know when to use qualitative analysis over quantitative procedures. You can prefer qualitative data analysis when:

  • Complexity Reigns: When your research questions involve deep human experiences, motivations, or emotions, qualitative research excels at revealing these complexities.
  • Exploration is Key: Qualitative analysis is ideal for exploratory research. It will assist you in understanding a new or poorly understood topic before formulating quantitative hypotheses.
  • Context Matters: If you want to understand how context affects behaviors or results, qualitative data analysis provides the depth needed to grasp these relationships.
  • Unanticipated Findings: When your study provides surprising new viewpoints or ideas, qualitative analysis helps you to delve deeply into these emerging themes.
  • Subjective Interpretation is Vital: When it comes to understanding people’s subjective experiences and interpretations, qualitative data analysis is the way to go.

You can make informed decisions regarding the right approach for your research objectives if you understand the importance of qualitative analysis and recognize the situations where it shines.

Qualitative Data Analysis Methods and Examples

Exploring various qualitative data analysis methods will provide you with a wide collection for making sense of your research findings. Once the data has been collected, you can choose from several analysis methods based on your research objectives and the data type you’ve collected.

There are five main methods for analyzing qualitative data. Each method takes a distinct approach to identifying patterns, themes, and insights within your qualitative data. They are:

Method 1: Content Analysis

Content analysis is a methodical technique for analyzing textual or visual data in a structured manner. In this method, you will categorize qualitative data by splitting it into manageable pieces and assigning the manual coding process to these units.

As you go, you’ll notice ongoing codes and designs that will allow you to conclude the content. This method is very beneficial for detecting common ideas, concepts, or themes in your data without losing the context.

Steps to Do Content Analysis

Follow these steps when conducting content analysis:

  • Collect and Immerse: Begin by collecting the necessary textual or visual data. Immerse yourself in this data to fully understand its content, context, and complexities.
  • Assign Codes and Categories: Assign codes to relevant data sections that systematically represent major ideas or themes. Arrange comparable codes into groups that cover the major themes.
  • Analyze and Interpret: Develop a structured framework from the categories and codes. Then, evaluate the data in the context of your research question, investigate relationships between categories, discover patterns, and draw meaning from these connections.

Benefits & Challenges

There are various advantages to using content analysis:

  • Structured Approach: It offers a systematic approach to dealing with large data sets and ensures consistency throughout the research.
  • Objective Insights: This method promotes objectivity, which helps to reduce potential biases in your study.
  • Pattern Discovery: Content analysis can help uncover hidden trends, themes, and patterns that are not always obvious.
  • Versatility: You can apply content analysis to various data formats, including text, internet content, images, etc.

However, keep in mind the challenges that arise:

  • Subjectivity: Even with the best attempts, a certain bias may remain in coding and interpretation.
  • Complexity: Analyzing huge data sets requires time and great attention to detail.
  • Contextual Nuances: Content analysis may not capture all of the contextual richness that qualitative data analysis highlights.

Example of Content Analysis

Suppose you’re conducting market research and looking at customer feedback on a product. As you collect relevant data and analyze feedback, you’ll see repeating codes like “price,” “quality,” “customer service,” and “features.” These codes are organized into categories such as “positive reviews,” “negative reviews,” and “suggestions for improvement.”

According to your findings, themes such as “price” and “customer service” stand out and show that pricing and customer service greatly impact customer satisfaction. This example highlights the power of content analysis for obtaining significant insights from large textual data collections.

Method 2: Thematic Analysis

Thematic analysis is a well-structured procedure for identifying and analyzing recurring themes in your data. As you become more engaged in the data, you’ll generate codes or short labels representing key concepts. These codes are then organized into themes, providing a consistent framework for organizing and comprehending the substance of the data.

The analysis allows you to organize complex narratives and perspectives into meaningful categories, which will allow you to identify connections and patterns that may not be visible at first.

Steps to Do Thematic Analysis

Follow these steps when conducting a thematic analysis:

  • Code and Group: Start by thoroughly examining the data and giving initial codes that identify the segments. To create initial themes, combine relevant codes.
  • Code and Group: Begin by engaging yourself in the data, assigning first codes to notable segments. To construct basic themes, group comparable codes together.
  • Analyze and Report: Analyze the data within each theme to derive relevant insights. Organize the topics into a consistent structure and explain your findings, along with data extracts that represent each theme.

Thematic analysis has various benefits:

  • Structured Exploration: It is a method for identifying patterns and themes in complex qualitative data.
  • Comprehensive knowledge: Thematic analysis promotes an in-depth understanding of the complications and meanings of the data.
  • Application Flexibility: This method can be customized to various research situations and data kinds.

However, challenges may arise, such as:

  • Interpretive Nature: Interpreting qualitative data in thematic analysis is vital, and it is critical to manage researcher bias.
  • Time-consuming: The study can be time-consuming, especially with large data sets.
  • Subjectivity: The selection of codes and topics might be subjective.

Example of Thematic Analysis

Assume you’re conducting a thematic analysis on job satisfaction interviews. Following your immersion in the data, you assign initial codes such as “work-life balance,” “career growth,” and “colleague relationships.” As you organize these codes, you’ll notice themes develop, such as “Factors Influencing Job Satisfaction” and “Impact on Work Engagement.”

Further investigation reveals the tales and experiences included within these themes and provides insights into how various elements influence job satisfaction. This example demonstrates how thematic analysis can reveal meaningful patterns and insights in qualitative data.

Method 3: Narrative Analysis

The narrative analysis involves the narratives that people share. You’ll investigate the histories in your data, looking at how stories are created and the meanings they express. This method is excellent for learning how people make sense of their experiences through narrative.

Steps to Do Narrative Analysis

The following steps are involved in narrative analysis:

  • Gather and Analyze: Start by collecting narratives, such as first-person tales, interviews, or written accounts. Analyze the stories, focusing on the plot, feelings, and characters.
  • Find Themes: Look for recurring themes or patterns in various narratives. Think about the similarities and differences between these topics and personal experiences.
  • Interpret and Extract Insights: Contextualize the narratives within their larger context. Accept the subjective nature of each narrative and analyze the narrator’s voice and style. Extract insights from the tales by diving into the emotions, motivations, and implications communicated by the stories.

There are various advantages to narrative analysis:

  • Deep Exploration: It lets you look deeply into people’s personal experiences and perspectives.
  • Human-Centered: This method prioritizes the human perspective, allowing individuals to express themselves.

However, difficulties may arise, such as:

  • Interpretive Complexity: Analyzing narratives requires dealing with the complexities of meaning and interpretation.
  • Time-consuming: Because of the richness and complexities of tales, working with them can be time-consuming.

Example of Narrative Analysis

Assume you’re conducting narrative analysis on refugee interviews. As you read the stories, you’ll notice common themes of toughness, loss, and hope. The narratives provide insight into the obstacles that refugees face, their strengths, and the dreams that guide them.

The analysis can provide a deeper insight into the refugees’ experiences and the broader social context they navigate by examining the narratives’ emotional subtleties and underlying meanings. This example highlights how narrative analysis can reveal important insights into human stories.

Method 4: Grounded Theory Analysis

Grounded theory analysis is an iterative and systematic approach that allows you to create theories directly from data without being limited by pre-existing hypotheses. With an open mind, you collect data and generate early codes and labels that capture essential ideas or concepts within the data.

As you progress, you refine these codes and increasingly connect them, eventually developing a theory based on the data. Grounded theory analysis is a dynamic process for developing new insights and hypotheses based on details in your data.

Steps to Do Grounded Theory Analysis

Grounded theory analysis requires the following steps:

  • Initial Coding: First, immerse yourself in the data, producing initial codes that represent major concepts or patterns.
  • Categorize and Connect: Using axial coding, organize the initial codes, which establish relationships and connections between topics.
  • Build the Theory: Focus on creating a core category that connects the codes and themes. Regularly refine the theory by comparing and integrating new data, ensuring that it evolves organically from the data.

Grounded theory analysis has various benefits:

  • Theory Generation: It provides a one-of-a-kind opportunity to generate hypotheses straight from data and promotes new insights.
  • In-depth Understanding: The analysis allows you to deeply analyze the data and reveal complex relationships and patterns.
  • Flexible Process: This method is customizable and ongoing, which allows you to enhance your research as you collect additional data.

However, challenges might arise with:

  • Time and Resources: Because grounded theory analysis is a continuous process, it requires a large commitment of time and resources.
  • Theoretical Development: Creating a grounded theory involves a thorough understanding of qualitative data analysis software and theoretical concepts.
  • Interpretation of Complexity: Interpreting and incorporating a newly developed theory into existing literature can be intellectually hard.

Example of Grounded Theory Analysis

Assume you’re performing a grounded theory analysis on workplace collaboration interviews. As you open code the data, you will discover notions such as “communication barriers,” “team dynamics,” and “leadership roles.” Axial coding demonstrates links between these notions, emphasizing the significance of efficient communication in developing collaboration.

You create the core “Integrated Communication Strategies” category through selective coding, which unifies new topics.

This theory-driven category serves as the framework for understanding how numerous aspects contribute to effective team collaboration. This example shows how grounded theory analysis allows you to generate a theory directly from the inherent nature of the data.

Method 5: Discourse Analysis

Discourse analysis focuses on language and communication. You’ll look at how language produces meaning and how it reflects power relations, identities, and cultural influences. This strategy examines what is said and how it is said; the words, phrasing, and larger context of communication.

The analysis is precious when investigating power dynamics, identities, and cultural influences encoded in language. By evaluating the language used in your data, you can identify underlying assumptions, cultural standards, and how individuals negotiate meaning through communication.

Steps to Do Discourse Analysis

Conducting discourse analysis entails the following steps:

  • Select Discourse: For analysis, choose language-based data such as texts, speeches, or media content.
  • Analyze Language: Immerse yourself in the conversation, examining language choices, metaphors, and underlying assumptions.
  • Discover Patterns: Recognize the dialogue’s reoccurring themes, ideologies, and power dynamics. To fully understand the effects of these patterns, put them in their larger context.

There are various advantages of using discourse analysis:

  • Understanding Language: It provides an extensive understanding of how language builds meaning and influences perceptions.
  • Uncovering Power Dynamics: The analysis reveals how power dynamics appear via language.
  • Cultural Insights: This method identifies cultural norms, beliefs, and ideologies stored in communication.

However, the following challenges may arise:

  • Complexity of Interpretation: Language analysis involves navigating multiple levels of nuance and interpretation.
  • Subjectivity: Interpretation can be subjective, so controlling researcher bias is important.
  • Time-Intensive: Discourse analysis can take a lot of time because careful linguistic study is required in this analysis.

Example of Discourse Analysis

Consider doing discourse analysis on media coverage of a political event. You notice repeating linguistic patterns in news articles that depict the event as a conflict between opposing parties. Through deconstruction, you can expose how this framing supports particular ideologies and power relations.

You can illustrate how language choices influence public perceptions and contribute to building the narrative around the event by analyzing the speech within the broader political and social context. This example shows how discourse analysis can reveal hidden power dynamics and cultural influences on communication.

How to do Qualitative Data Analysis with the QuestionPro Research suite?

QuestionPro is a popular survey and research platform that offers tools for collecting and analyzing qualitative and quantitative data. Follow these general steps for conducting qualitative data analysis using the QuestionPro Research Suite:

  • Collect Qualitative Data: Set up your survey to capture qualitative responses. It might involve open-ended questions, text boxes, or comment sections where participants can provide detailed responses.
  • Export Qualitative Responses: Export the responses once you’ve collected qualitative data through your survey. QuestionPro typically allows you to export survey data in various formats, such as Excel or CSV.
  • Prepare Data for Analysis: Review the exported data and clean it if necessary. Remove irrelevant or duplicate entries to ensure your data is ready for analysis.
  • Code and Categorize Responses: Segment and label data, letting new patterns emerge naturally, then develop categories through axial coding to structure the analysis.
  • Identify Themes: Analyze the coded responses to identify recurring themes, patterns, and insights. Look for similarities and differences in participants’ responses.
  • Generate Reports and Visualizations: Utilize the reporting features of QuestionPro to create visualizations, charts, and graphs that help communicate the themes and findings from your qualitative research.
  • Interpret and Draw Conclusions: Interpret the themes and patterns you’ve identified in the qualitative data. Consider how these findings answer your research questions or provide insights into your study topic.
  • Integrate with Quantitative Data (if applicable): If you’re also conducting quantitative research using QuestionPro, consider integrating your qualitative findings with quantitative results to provide a more comprehensive understanding.

Qualitative data analysis is vital in uncovering various human experiences, views, and stories. If you’re ready to transform your research journey and apply the power of qualitative analysis, now is the moment to do it. Book a demo with QuestionPro today and begin your journey of exploration.



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  1. Reporting Statistics in APA Style

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  2. Writing up your results

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  3. Apa Format Papers Examples / Nursing Paper Example: APA Setup

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  4. Data Analysis Plan in an APA Research Paper

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  5. APA Style

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  6. hypothesis testing

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  6. APA Style Review


  1. Reporting Research Results in APA Style

    Revised on July 9, 2022. The results section of a quantitative research paper is where you summarize your data and report the findings of any relevant statistical analyses. The APA manual provides rigorous guidelines for what to report in quantitative research papers in the fields of psychology, education, and other social sciences.

  2. Reporting Statistics in APA Style

    Revised on June 22, 2023. The APA Publication Manual is commonly used for reporting research results in the social and natural sciences. This article walks you through APA Style standards for reporting statistics in academic writing. Statistical analysis involves gathering and testing quantitative data to make inferences about the world.

  3. How to Write an APA Methods Section

    Published on February 5, 2021 by Pritha Bhandari . Revised on June 22, 2023. The methods section of an APA style paper is where you report in detail how you performed your study. Research papers in the social and natural sciences often follow APA style. This article focuses on reporting quantitative research methods.

  4. Data Sets

    Standard Format Adapted from American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed). Formatting Rules Provide a retrieval date only if the data set is designated to change over time Date for published data is the year of publication

  5. Analysis

    Analysis is a type of primary research that involves finding and interpreting patterns in data, classifying those patterns, and generalizing the results. It is useful when looking at actions, events, or occurrences in different texts, media, or publications.

  6. Sample tables

    Sample analysis of variance (ANOVA) table Sample factor analysis table Sample regression table Sample qualitative table with variable descriptions Sample mixed methods table These sample tables are also available as a downloadable Word file (DOCX, 37KB).

  7. APA Sample Paper

    Crucially, citation practices do not differ between the two styles of paper. However, for your convenience, we have provided two versions of our APA 7 sample paper below: one in student style and one in professional style. Note: For accessibility purposes, we have used "Track Changes" to make comments along the margins of these samples.

  8. Links to Data Sets

    Data Sets A wealth of shared data are available for use in psychological science research. These data span a wide variety of topics. Below are examples of electronically available behavioral and social science data. Census Data is an introductory link to the many tables that are available.

  9. PDF Essentials of Thematic Analysis

    Data Analysis: Familiarization and Coding Phase 1: Familiarization Phase 2: Coding Data Analysis: Theme Construction and Development Phase 3: Initial Theme Generation Phase 4: Developing and Reviewing Themes Phase 5: Naming and Defining Themes Reporting Your Research and Writing the Results

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  11. What statistical results do you need to report according to APA style?

    If you cite several sources by the same author or group of authors, you'll distinguish between them in your APA in-text citations using the year of publication.. If you cite multiple sources by the same author(s) at the same point, you can just write the author name(s) once and separate the different years with commas, e.g., (Smith, 2020, 2021). To distinguish between sources with the same ...

  12. APA Citation Style, 7th Edition: Datasets, Software, & Tests

    The main concept that sets data sets apart from other types of APA citations is sharing the (version) of the dataset, test, or software after the title (in parenthesis), then following that, [Data set], [Test], or [Software] is placed in square brackets, followed by a period.


    The data analysis included a description of the experiments we summarized, an estimation of overall effects, moderator analyses, and tests of mediation. Sample of Studies and Datasets Descriptive characteristics of the datasets included in the present meta-analysis appear in Table 2.…[section continues]. Overview of the Average Effect Sizes

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    APA formatting is used for the proper construction of tables and figures (graphs, pictures, charts, drawings and maps) of data analysis chapter. It consists of rules of style that are used to enhance this presentation so that other researchers can find it easy to understand your research ideas.

  15. APA Dictionary of Psychology

    n. in psychoanalytic theory, the mental agency, located in the preconscious, that is responsible for repression. The censor is posited to determine which wishes, thoughts, and ideas may enter consciousness and which must be kept unconscious because they violate one's conscience or society's standards or are in conflict with other wishes or ...

  16. Statistics in APA

    Purdue OWL Research and Citation APA Style (6th Edition) APA Formatting and Style Guide (6th Edition) Statistics in APA Statistics in APA Note: This page reflects APA 6, which is now out of date. It will remain online until 2021, but will not be updated. There is currently no equivalent 7th edition page, but we're working on one.

  17. Data set references

    Provide citations for data sets when you have either conducted secondary analyses of publicly archived data or archived your own data being presented for the first time in the current work.

  18. APA Dictionary of Psychology

    n. the largest part of the brain, forming most of the forebrain and lying in front of and above the cerebellum. It consists of two cerebral hemispheres bridged by the corpus callosum. Each hemisphere is divided into four main lobes: the frontal lobe, occipital lobe, parietal lobe, and temporal lobe. The outer layer of the cerebrum—the ...

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    Summary: APA (American Psychological Association) style is most commonly used to cite sources within the social sciences. This resource, revised according to the 6 th edition, second printing of the APA manual, offers examples for the general format of APA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the reference page. For more information, please consult the Publication Manual ...

  20. PDF Essentials of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis: Sample chapter

    and expectations, data collection, data analysis, and variations on the method. We also asked authors to provide tips for the research process and for writing a manuscript emerging from a study that used the method. Finally, we asked ... Association (APA)-sponsored publication guidelines (Levitt et al., 2018)

  21. Dyadic data analysis.

    Abstract This chapter provides readers with an entry point to dyadic data analysis. To illustrate the nuances of dyadic data analysis, it describes in detail one specific model—the social relations model (SRM)—and presents a step-by-step empirical example to delineate the basic steps of a dyadic analysis.

  22. Quotations from research participants

    obscure identifying information, and/or present aggregate information. Agreements regarding confidentiality and/or anonymity may also extend to other sources related to your methodology (e.g., quoting a school policy document when conducting a case study at a school).

  23. APA Sample Paper

    APA PowerPoint Slide Presentation. APA Sample Paper. APA Tables and Figures 1. APA Tables and Figures 2. APA Abbreviations. Numbers in APA. Statistics in APA. APA Classroom Poster. APA Changes 6th Edition.

  24. Qualitative Data Analysis: What is it, Methods + Examples

    Qualitative data analysis is a systematic process of examining non-numerical data to extract meaning, patterns, and insights. In contrast to quantitative analysis, which focuses on numbers and statistical metrics, the qualitative study focuses on the qualitative aspects of data, such as text, images, audio, and videos. It seeks to understand ...

  25. APA Corp (APA): A Comprehensive Analysis of Its Market Value

    APA 30-Year Financial Data. The intrinsic value of APA. Based in Houston, APA Corp is an independent exploration and production company, operating primarily in the U.S., Egypt, the North Sea, and ...