ANALYSING THE DATA
Raw data are of little use until they have undergone some form of processing. Interviews have to be transcribed, either fully or in the reduced format Jan adopted; field notes and notes taken at meetings have to be reviewed, put into order and edited; decisions have to be made about what is to stay in and what is to be left out. Jan had strong views about the culture of compulsory education. She had not quite gone native but she was certainly involved and she knew she had to return repeatedly to the data in order to be as sure as she could that she was reporting on the data rather than on her own convictions. Similarly, she knew she must be meticulous about what evidence to include and what to exclude – and that's never easy.
The analysis of ethnographic data may not be an exact science, but in Brewer's opinion, that does not mean that it shouldn't be systematic and rigorous. He writes that
The first thing to note about analysis is that it is a con-
tinuous process. Given that ethnography is best perceived
as a process rather than a sequence of discrete stages (like
all research), data analysis is simultaneous with data