Occasionally in my professional work, I've run into the need to analyze qualitative data. Because of some assistance I've had from non-statistician colleagues, I've learned about techniques such as thematic analysis that I was never taught in my statistical coursework.

Are there any good references (preferably textbooks) that people recommend for statisticians who wish to learn qualitative research techniques? I have never seen a single statistics class which covers such material - such classes that seem to teach this material are primarily focused in the social sciences.

  • $\begingroup$ Maybe I have not seen the best of thematic analysis, but in the half-dozen cases I have seen it there was little more value than opinion wrapped up in technical babble. $\endgroup$
    – Galen
    Jun 23 at 5:20
  • $\begingroup$ You can have probability distributions over qualitative variables, although estimating them will require adequate sample sizes. $\endgroup$
    – Galen
    Jun 23 at 5:22

In multivariate time series analysis, "statistical factors" (identified by empirical methods such as SVD or PCA) and "fundamental factors" (identified by a qualitative attribute such as company industry) are competing approaches to modeling multivariate data. The "factor analysis" chapter in Johnson and Wichern discusses rotating empirically defined factors to qualitative factors.

Johnson, Richard Arnold, and Dean W. Wichern. Applied multivariate statistical analysis. Prentice Hall.

"Latent class analysis" combines qualitative and quantitative concepts, see the R package poLCA and related article.

Linzer, Drew A., and Jeffrey B. Lewis. "poLCA: An R package for polytomous variable latent class analysis." Journal of Statistical Software 42.10 (2011): 1-29.


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