Date: October 12, 1999
Bobbi Kerlin — Portland State University

You’ve recorded the interviews. You’ve plowed through the tapes and typed reams of transcripts. But it’s all just talk and you’re drowning in your data.

Is there some way to account for it all? To make sense of what everyone said? To understand what they were telling you? Maybe even to build a theory about what they told you?

It’s called Qualitative Analysis: a process that is often the precursor to quantitative, statistical work; a process to make the tacit underpinnings of an issue explicit; a process you can use to deepen your understanding of complex social and human factors that cannot be understood with numbers; a process that helps you figure out what to count and what to measure.

Bobbi Kerlin works in Faculty Development at Portland State University assisting faculty and graduate students with the integration of technology into research and teaching practices. She will contrast qualitative and quantitative approaches to inquiry, provide a general overview of various genres or approaches to qualitative research, and introduce a computer-based tool to help researchers make sense of interview data.

Born in Toronto, Canada, Bobbi Kerlin completed her masters degree in computer applications at the University of Toronto (1988). In 1990, she accepted an appointment as Education Technology Fellow at the University of Victoria where she completed her Ph.D. (1997). Bobbi has taught at Lakehead and York Universities in Ontario, and the University of Victoria, British Columbia where in 1991, she implemented the University’s first online courses delivered via computer-conferencing using a command-line interface. Her research interests include the structural, political, social, and personal dimensions of identity transformation in the doctoral process and computer-aided methods for conducting qualitative research.