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Conference Paper/Proceeding/Abstract 909 views

Web based analytics in qualitative healthcare education research: using Wordle as an adjunct in data analysis and display

Tessa Watts Orcid Logo

International Networking for Education in Health care

Swansea University Author: Tessa Watts Orcid Logo

Abstract

Web-based tools specifically designed to analyse word frequency and present a visual summary of text creatively have proliferated in recent years. These summaries are commonly known as ‘word clouds’. In visually presenting text, different degrees of prominence are given to words, according to freque...

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Published in: International Networking for Education in Health care
Published: Cambridge University 2014
URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa18341
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Abstract: Web-based tools specifically designed to analyse word frequency and present a visual summary of text creatively have proliferated in recent years. These summaries are commonly known as ‘word clouds’. In visually presenting text, different degrees of prominence are given to words, according to frequency. Those words which occur most frequently are afforded greatest prominence within the cloud. With reference to a qualitative study of undergraduate pre–registration nursing students’ experiences of palliative care, this paper discusses the potential of web-based analytics as an adjunct to qualitative data content analysis and data presentation. The term adjunct is significant, for it is not suggested and therefore should not be read that these tools replace established, rigorous techniques for analysing qualitative data. Yet these visual summaries might offer additional insights and facilitate deeper analysis of and reflection on textual data. In education word clouds have been used as pedagogical tools to communicate ideas, stimulate thought, discussion and reflection and thus learning (Ramsden and Bate, 2008; Viegas et al., 2009; Williams et al., 2013). However, to date their potential role in research generally and healthcare education research specifically has been subject to limited consideration in the literature. Yet in qualitative research, and whilst recognising potential challenges and limitations, it would seem that word clouds may have a contribution to make in terms of preliminary content analysis of transcribed, narrative data and presentation of findings. Indeed, word clouds may be used to quickly illuminate key themes within a defined textual data set or even draw attention to aspects which may warrant further exploration. Moreover, by virtue of their visually engaging nature, word clouds may offer a useful adjunct to more traditional methods of qualitative data display in reporting research findings by creating visual impact. Several different analytic tools are available, including Tag Crowd (Sinclair and Cardew-Hall, 2008), Tagxedo and Wordle (Feinberg, 2013). In the study referred to in this paper Wordle was purposefully selected for use alongside traditional qualitative content analysis for it has an accessible, quick, user-friendly web-based interface. Common words, for example ‘of’ and ‘the’ may be removed from the visualisation. Moreover, in terms of its typographical design, unlike Tag Cloud for example, which typically displays rows of alphabetically ordered text; Wordle graphically reveals word frequency information using proportional font size, variable colour and word alignment and tight composition. In order to generate further methodological discussion this presentation will consider the following core issues:•The potential for using word clouds as an adjunct in qualitative data analysis and display;•The challenges, benefits and limitations associated using word clouds in qualitative data analysis and display.
Keywords: Qualitative Research, Methodological issues, Web based analytics, Wordle .
College: College of Human and Health Sciences