This paper proposes analogical mapping as a strategy for data analysis. Research is often messy. Where it explores the unknown and follows unexpected paths it often generates unanticipated findings. Presented with extensive data and the initial analysis describing 'themes' the researcher asks, "What does it all mean?" Thus we are challenged to make sense of the world we see, to theorise and not merely describe. This report outlines a method of analysis using metaphor as a thinking tool to interpret findings from a study in education. In the study reported here, metaphor provided a means of analysis to delve deeply into the nature of a school system, to offer insights and to generate a tentative theory


Analogy, Metaphor, Qualitative Analysis, and Educational Change


The author thanks Mark Cosgrove and Lyn Schaverien for their advice on the method considered in this paper.

Publication Date


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.




Submission Location


To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.