Qualitative Data Analysis Exercise

Read and re-read the narrative interview data below for meaning. Based on your interpretation of the data, identify emergent “themes” and validate these themes with actual verbatim quotes. For example, if you identify a theme that you refer to as “feelings of anger,” justify this theme with excerpts from the data. Be creative; do not restrain your thoughts. Focus on meaning and content – not on the grammar of the participant being interviewed or on questions you may have about “Jenny” that are not addressed in the narrative data.

There are no right or wrong answers. You, as the qualitative researcher, “make sense” out of the narrative data. When you read a “story,” you identify main “ideas” or “storylines.” In qualitative research and data analysis, themes are similar to storylines – they refer to recurring patterns or concepts that are contained in the data. You should be able to identify about 4–7 themes. Identify the themes [usually a few words or a phrase], then provide supportive quotes from data. Also, provide some feedback about the exercise itself – was it difficult to do, time consuming, did it make sense to you, etc. [length of this assignment varies – typically is about 4–5 pages; Total Points = 175].

Format for This Assignment:

Title page according to APA format [no Abstract required]

Type your analysis in narrative, paragraph form. Identify the “themes” that you believe fit with the data and then provide supportive verbatim quotes from the data.

Write at least a paragraph about this exercise [see above directions].

Grading Criteria Points

Clarity/Sentence Structure 35
Organization 30
Grammar 30
Depth 40
Logical Synthesis of Information 40

Interview with Jenny [pseudonym used to protect identity]
I interviewed Jenny, a 16-year-old Caucasian girl, who 26 weeks pregnant. She plans to parent her baby. Jenny stated that she had lived with her father most of her life and moved in with her mother about a year ago. She was very articulate and seemed to be relaxed during the interview. She smiled easily and gave me appropriate eye contact. I have observed her in the classroom setting and have noticed that she is fairly quiet and has limited interaction with her classmates [other pregnant and parenting adolescent mothers].

The interview took place in the Clinic Conference Room. Jenny {with her mother’s consent}agreed to participate in a qualitative research study on the experience of being a pregnant adolescent. Following are several pages of narrative data from her interview [the interview was audio-taped and transcribed verbatim into manuscript form].

I: Thank you for being willing to talk to me and I would like you to tell me a little bit about yourself and tell me what a typical day is like.
R: Um, I get up in the morning get ready for school. I come here and go to my classes and get my work done, then at 1:30 I leave here and I usually go to my boyfriend’s house or go home and get ready for work. And if I have to work I go to work and go home and try to get my homework in and go to bed. So it’s all kind of rush – rush (laugh). But um I’m 16. Um I’m excited about having a baby but a little confused and scared I guess. And, I enjoy doing a lot of things. I spend most of my time with my boyfriend and I don’t really do much of anything else I guess.
I: What kinds of things do you enjoy doing?
R: Um, when I went to Amherst I was a cheerleader and I played softball. And I like watching TV and hanging out with my friends.
I: So you were in to sports
R: Yeah
I: How did you do in school – or how are you doing in school – grade wise?
R: I was making honor roll and then I dropped a couple Cs here and there. And then when I found out I was pregnant or whatever it kind of dropped more from where it was maybe I had to leave early and I got stuff confused so maybe my grades dropped there. And I come here so maybe they’ll pick up again – so….
I: So even before you got pregnant you had a few Cs?
R: Yeah
I: And then after it dropped – why do you think that happened?
R: We were trying to get things straight where I could have time without quitting my job. I would have time to come home and rest. My doctor signed a paper for me to leave at 11. And the principal approved all that and than went back and said I couldn’t do it. So that’s I came here because they had everything mixed up and I was signed in class.
I: So that’s why you came to school?
R: Yeah
I: If you could have worked out your schedule would you have stayed in Amherst?
R: Um, maybe. I was always a little nervous about going to school ‘cause it was so crowded. Walking down the hallways I was afraid something was going to happen. Because if something happened there somebody wouldn’t be able a much attention to me I guess if I needed help or whatever because there was so many other people.
I: Did it make a difference to you that you were pregnant; did people know you were pregnant?
R: Yeah
I: Did that make any difference in how they treated you or —
R: No. I had a lot more helping me out – or supportin me I guess you could say. They made me feel a lot better I guess. I was always one to worry about my grades and worry about friends and other stuff after school. I guess it kind of helped me to open up to other people I guess.
I: You know talking about yourself, would you say you were more shy? I mean you were a cheerleader so I guess that …….
R: I wasn’t really shy. I guess when I lived with my dad I was always brought up you worry about school and everything else after school. So I guess its where that came from.
I: So I guess it was important to him that you do well in school – so that was your first priority?
R: Yeah
I: So how long have you been here?
R: About 3 to 4 weeks.
I: So how is it going?
R: Pretty good so far.
I: Have you made friends?
R: Yeah
I: And it’s probably too soon to see how you’re doing grade wise?
R: Yeah, some of them I haven’t really, I wouldn’t say I’d do good this first six weeks I guess because I was sort of jumping in the middle of things. I need to get this first six weeks out of the way and can start working on everything else as far as – I just don’t jump right in the middle of all this. Didn’t really know what was going on so….
I: Well, how would you describe yourself you know if you were just introducing yourself to someone. You sort of have but can you think of anyway you can describe your personality – or ….
R: Outgoing, um, I speak my mind – I’m not one to keep things locked in. I always speak my mind. Um, My dad was the one to worry about – whatever people would think about me being pregnant and 16. I guess it’s like I tell my dad it’s my life and I made a mistake and I got to live with it and I’ll do the best with it. I try to see the positive side of things.
I: So you said your dad had a hard time but you said it was your life.
R: Yeah. I lived with him and then we had some problems. He got remarried and I didn’t like it. I was so used to being me and him and then I had to share things with her kids and share him and I didn’t like it so I moved in with my mom and I came here to school.
I: Did all of this happen since you got pregnant?
R: No this happened before. I’ve been living with mom for probably about a year, a year and a half now. Me and my dad had just pretty much um we always, seems like all we do is argue. Every time we talk to each other we just argue. And uh I just actually really maybe started having a conversation with him and we’d talk on the phone and then I found out I was pregnant in August. And I called to tell him and he didn’t take it too well. So I haven’t really talked to him much since then. So……………
I: Maybe that can lead into the next question. You said you found out you were pregnant in August. Why don’t you tell me about that situation. Who you were with how you found out who you told…
R: The guy I’d been dating I’d been dating almost a year. And we started goin out in April and in June I don’t know what made me think – but for some reason, I guess it was maybe instinct that made me think I was and I told him and I took a pregnancy test and that come out negative. So we went along and everything went OK and come August, I got real sick when I was at work. And I had to leave work for that whole week end. My mom said well why don’t you go check it out or she brought up a question about it and I told her you know no I don’t think so cause not too long ago I had a pregnancy test and it said no. And I was still havin my cycle so I didn’t really… And then um her and her boyfriend went out of town for vacation and I stayed home. And I guess being sick that week end and her sayin something I got that instinct again. So I went and my boyfriend’s mom got the pregnancy test for me and I was at her house and took it then and that one come up positive.
I: It did?
R: Yeah. And I was two and a half months pregnant then (laugh). The first one it come up negative.
I: So it must be that that was a little too early or it was a false negative?
R: Yeah.
I: You said you just had this instinct?
R: Yeah. I don’t know man I never went before this or something or it was just this feeling telling me check it out. I don’t know. I mean I was on birth control but we didn’t use any other protection. So…..
I: What kind of birth control were you using?
R: The pills.
I: So were you taking them regularly?
R: Yeah. And I never missed one and I’ve been taking them for almost three years. But I smoked um before I found out I was pregnant and my doctor said it that it probably had something to do with that cause smoking and drinking and stuff like that any kind of drug or anything decreases the effects of those so uh…
I: So that’s what he told you?
R: Yeah. But I’m not – I have no idea – he said that it was either that or I can’t remember he said something about my hormones or something so – I don’t know.
I: So you were at your boyfriend’s house
R: Yeah
I: So you were with your boyfriend and his mother
R: Yeah. When I found out.
I: What happened when that came up positive? What did people say – or what did they say?
R: He was excited. I mean it wasn’t planned. But I guess we’d been together and we plan to stay together hopefully so he um he was excited. And we um – the first time I thought I was pregnant – if I was – I figured he’d leave. I mean he wasn’t too happy then. It was a big turn around when I found out that I was so (laugh) but his mom cried for about a week. I mean she wasn’t upset. She was just worried about what we was going to do and all that and so when my mom and her boyfriend got back I went to the doctor and had a pregnancy test taken there and that one it come up positive. So I got the stuff for it and tried to figure out ways to tell her and she come home and I couldn’t think of a way to tell her so I just took a bunch of papers and the stuff from there and set it in her lap (laugh). (the literature from the health department about being pregnant)
I: What did she do?
R: She just sat there at first so I think it took her a minute to actually figure out what she was looking at that then. She looked at me and she asked me if it was true and told her yeah. And I started crying and she just sat there for a minute. She smoked her cigarette and walked outside and then come back in. And um she called her boyfriend in there. Because right now I consider her boyfriend more as a father to me then my dad. Everybody so far is supporting me so far except my dad. And my dad can’t except that. He wanted me to have the abortion or give it up for adoption but I’m not one that really believes in that or could live with that so…. told him I couldn’t do it. And he then said that he didn’t want any responsibility of takin care of another one cause he’s already takin care of his and he said that he didn’t want anything to do with me or the baby. So, now whether that comes around in a different way – I don’t know (laugh)
I: So, that’s how he reacted…
R: Yeah.
I: Was that his initial reaction and you haven’t talk to him much since then?
R: He called – he called my grandparents – his mom and dad – ‘cause I’m really close to them. He called them before I got to them and told them, I guess trying to see what they’d say and um when they told him that they was going to stick by me and they’d be at the hospital and they’d help me all they could he hasn’t talked to them since. That’s his own family. I don’t know what’s going to happen – so. I guess we’ll see.
I: What do you think – I mean – how’s that making you feel now?
R: Angry. Because I know I made a lot of mistakes. But he was young when he had me so I feel he should at least understand, somewhat, what I’m going through.
I: So was your mom young – they were both young?
R: Yeah she was 17 he was 19 so. They weren’t as young but I don’t know. I feel he should at least try to help me through it since he went through it also.
I: Do you think that’s the attitude your mom has with you? I mean she was young – so she knows…
R: Yeah. She understands. I mean everything pretty much I’ve went through I’ve followed in her footsteps. Not meaning to. But it seems like I’m a repeat of her (laugh). So….
I: Now has your mom said anything to you along the way to say Jenny I want you to wait or whatever happens – happens – do you feel?
R: My mom was never really around when I was younger. Until I moved in with her – kind of a rush – in to movin with her. It was like we really didn’t know each other. We had to kind of live with each other and get to know each other then, so…. But she’s always been understanding of anything I’ve went through since then so….
I: Since you got pregnant had that changed your relationship with your boyfriend?
R: It’s brought us closer. He’s talked about after the baby’s born to make sure things go OK. We may move in together over this summer.