The remainder of this chapter will be spent looking closely at the process Spradley recommends because it is fairly comprehensive and also relatively easy to understand. The reader is cautioned though against thinking that all qualitative inquiry should use Spradley’s processes. They simply provide a useful place to start in discovering ways to “read” stories people are telling by their lived experiences.
Spradley identifies several analytic steps, which follow a particular sequence but should be repeated many times during the course of a study. These steps are discussed and illustrated from Rob’s study in the remainder of this chapter:
Overview. Domain analysis is a process for reviewing field notes containing the inquirer’s summary of observations, interviews, document reviews, and inquirer thinking to discover the domains of meaning associated with the lives of people being studied and specific details of those lives categorized within those domains (included terms). Focused observations are subsequent visits to the field notes and/or to the field of inquiry itself to expand the list of details or included terms associated with domains selected for further scrutiny. Taxonomic analysis is a search for ways included terms within selected domains may be organized. Selected observations are subsequent visits to the field notes and/or to the field of inquiry to expand and verify the taxonomic analsis. Componential analysis is a search for ways of distinguishing among the included terms in each selected domain, as a means of understanding why participants distinguish among the terms. The rest of the discussion of Spradley’s analysis process will use examples from Rob’s dissertation excerpt in Appendix G.
Domain analysis. Domains are made up of three elements (examples are taken from an analysis of the story beginning on page 75 of Rob’s study):
There are six steps in making a domain analysis, which will be followed to illustrate the generation of the example presented above.