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Qualitative research: deductive and inductive approaches to data analysis

Theophilus Azungah (Department of Management Studies, Bolgatanga Polytechnic, Bolgatanga, Ghana)

Qualitative Research Journal

ISSN: 1443-9883

Article publication date: 31 October 2018

Issue publication date: 15 November 2018




The purpose of this paper is to explain the rationale for choosing the qualitative approach to research human resources practices, namely, recruitment and selection, training and development, performance management, rewards management, employee communication and participation, diversity management and work and life balance using deductive and inductive approaches to analyse data. The paper adopts an emic perspective that favours the study of transfer of human resource management practices from the point of view of employees and host country managers in subsidiaries of western multinational enterprises in Ghana.


Despite the numerous examples of qualitative methods of data generation, little is known particularly to the novice researcher about how to analyse qualitative data. This paper develops a model to explain in a systematic manner how to methodically analyse qualitative data using both deductive and inductive approaches.


The deductive and inductive approaches provide a comprehensive approach in analysing qualitative data. The process involves immersing oneself in the data reading and digesting in order to make sense of the whole set of data and to understand what is going on.


This paper fills a serious gap in qualitative data analysis which is deemed complex and challenging with limited attention in the methodological literature particularly in a developing country context, Ghana.



Azungah, T. (2018), "Qualitative research: deductive and inductive approaches to data analysis", Qualitative Research Journal, Vol. 18 No. 4, pp. 383-400.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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