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Relational Analysis: An Add-On Technique for Aiding Data Integration in Qualitative Research

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The innovation of “add-on” techniques to supplement existing qualitative methods can be seen as part of a move towards a pluralist, eclectic qualitative psychology. This article presents such a technique, termed Relational Analysis, which can be used to help explore the full spectrum of possible relationships between analytical themes within qualitative data. To this end it employs 10 “key relational forms” (KRFs), all of which can act as meaningful links among themes/codes/categories/parts within a qualitative analysis. These are illustrated using examples from a recent study on retirement, and injunctions are provided for how to use them in exploratory analysis, in theory-construction, and in diagrams. Relational Analysis helps to promote a more integrated and connected qualitative analysis. It is an example of a “modular” innovation, that is, a tool for a particular task, to be used in conjunction with other methods, not instead of them. Modular innovation is suggested as a general principle for enhancing the ongoing development of qualitative psychology.
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Keywords: add-on; data integration; eclecticism; modular innovation; pluralism; relational analysis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Psychology and Counselling, University of Greenwich, London, UK

Publication date: April 1, 2011

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