feel supported, that they feel inspired, and that they feel incredibly challenged, but also incredibly supported by the program.”

Qualitative data analysis does not consist simply of reading through the transcripts of a set of interviews or focus groups. Through a very labor intensive process, codes are developed to analyze the transcript contents. For example, the codes used in a study of educational interventions might relate to the mention of self-efficacy beliefs, a sense of belonging, mentoring, or the presence of role models. The interviews are analyzed, coded, and rechecked. Themes are developed that connect the codes, including negative cases where researchers scour the data set for counterexamples. Software packages bring power to these analyses, because these packages can systematically pull up material that is coded in particular ways.

“It is an iterative process where you are recording, reworking your codes, reworking your themes,” said Maton. “In the ideal world, you share your themes with the participants who took part in the interviews and took part in the focus groups. You get some checks from [them and] others, and you always have multiple people working on the project and providing different perspectives. So you can do it more systematically rather than less systematically, but it should be done in a team effort with multiple people involved and multiple ways to check the data.”

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