Waikato Journal of Education


qualitative data analysis
Spiral-QDA process
doctoral studies
reflective narratives

How to Cite

Mohamed, Z. (2022). Contending with the unforeseen “messiness” of the qualitative data analysis process. Waikato Journal of Education, 27(2), 85–90. https://doi.org/10.15663/wje.v27i2.945


Qualitative data analysis (QDA) is often depicted as a linear process that employs an organised structure to derive themes inductively or deductively. However, I realised the “messiness” of the process during my doctoral studies on primary teachers’ use of digital technologies in ESL classrooms in Maldivian schools. My own experience revealed that QDA is a nonlinear, iterative and recursive process. Adopting a phenomenological research design to capture my nine participants’ “lived” experiences, I gathered data from various sources over eight months. Shared through this paper is a selection of my experiences that exemplify the nonlinearity of QDA, including the emergent need to develop an NVivo-enhanced Spiral-QDA process to accommodate my unforeseen data analysis experience. Therefore, reflections from my doctoral research experiences may be edifying and helpful for postgraduate students and supervisors in their own QDA process.


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