The data required to study experience require that they are derived from an intensive exploration with a participant. Such an exploration results in languaged data. The languaged data are not simply single words but interrelated words combined into sentences and sentences combined into discourses. The interconnections and complex relations of which discourse data are composed make it difficult to transform them into numbers for analysis. Producing findings from these data require analytic tools specifically designed to work with languaged data.
The form of qualitative data as discourse has significant differences from the form of quantitative data as numbers. Current qualitative research was developed in a context in which mainstream social science research valued and used statistical designs. Statistical designs have given specific, technical meanings to the terms it uses to describe its processes (e.g., significance, validity, sampling). Because the use of these terms has connotations drawn from their specialized use, their adoption to describe similar but different qualitative processes can lead to misunderstandings.
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