There are many elements of qualitative data analysis that may appear intangible to novice researchers. In this article, I present an approach to a data analysis workshop with students, where I do my best to avoid the instruction to “fold in the cheese,” as per the television series Schitt’s Creek. Students attend 90-minute workshops where they use an assortment of buttons to practice different strategies of qualitative analysis. The tactile mechanism of sorting objects has proven invaluable in workshops, as it helps students to physically organize their thoughts and takes pressure off to find the “right” answer. The nature of the items could also be adapted to meet students’ accessibility needs. The workshop has improved the quality of student writing in methods chapters and built students’ confidence as they approach their own data analysis processes, especially for master’s students and research assistants, where a full-length course may not be feasible.


qualitative data analysis, coding, qualitative research, teaching, learning

Author Bio(s)

Dr. Jennifer Jackson is a Registered Nurse and assistant professor in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Calgary. She has used a variety of qualitative research methods to study how to support the healthcare workforce in a variety of settings. Please direct correspondence to jennifer.jackson1@ucalgary.ca


Thank you to the students who have participated in these workshops.

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