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From Words to Numbers: How to Transform Qualitative Data into Meaningful Quantitative Results


  • Katharina J. Srnka
  • Sabine t. Koeszegi


In proposing a procedure for transforming qualitative data into quantitative results, we address the manifold requests for discovery-oriented research in the business disciplines. We present a systematic classification of combined qualitative-quantitative research designs and argue in favor of the generalization model. We give guidelines for its implementation and provide a blueprint for systematically converting respondents’ words into numbers that can be used for further (statistical) analyses. We delimit and discuss the stages of unitization, categorization, and coding. We also raise quality issues and propose relevant quality criteria in the transformation process. In particular, we suggest the intercoder consistency-matrix for determining the incisiveness of categories developed through content analysis. Finally, we demonstrate in an exemplary study how the blueprint can be applied and highlight the benefits of the proposed research design.

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  • Katharina J. Srnka & Sabine t. Koeszegi, 2007. "From Words to Numbers: How to Transform Qualitative Data into Meaningful Quantitative Results," Schmalenbach Business Review (sbr), LMU Munich School of Management, vol. 59(1), pages 29-57, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:sbr:abstra:v:59:y:2007:i:1:p:29-57

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    Cited by:

    1. Regina Michalski-Karl & Silvia Pernsteiner & Michaela Schaffhauser-Linzatti, 2009. "Signaling Public Private Partnership Activities: Reporting Behavior Within Annual Reports," International Advances in Economic Research, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 15(2), pages 178-185, May.
    2. Truyens, Jasper & De Bosscher, Veerle & Sotiriadou, Popi & Heyndels, Bruno & Westerbeek, Hans, 2016. "A method to evaluate countries’ organisational capacity: A four country comparison in athletics," Sport Management Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 279-292.
    3. repec:kap:iaecre:v:15:y:2009:i:2:p:178-185 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Andreas Hoffjan & Rouven Trapp & Christoph Endenich & Thomas Boucoiran, 2012. "International budgeting—challenges for German-French companies," Metrika: International Journal for Theoretical and Applied Statistics, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 5-25, September.
    5. Simone Kriglstein & Maria Leitner & Sonja Kabicher-Fuchs & Stefanie Rinderle-Ma, 2016. "Evaluation Methods in Process-Aware Information Systems Research with a Perspective on Human Orientation," Business & Information Systems Engineering: The International Journal of WIRTSCHAFTSINFORMATIK, Springer;Gesellschaft für Informatik e.V. (GI), vol. 58(6), pages 397-414, December.
    6. repec:spr:grdene:v:22:y:2013:i:5:d:10.1007_s10726-012-9295-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:eee:touman:v:60:y:2017:i:c:p:270-279 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. repec:eee:jbrese:v:79:y:2017:i:c:p:219-227 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Soviana, Soviana, 2013. "Case Survey for Assessing Community-Based Enterprise: A Research Design," EconStor Preprints 84707, ZBW - German National Library of Economics.
    10. Christoph Graf & Rudolf Vetschera & Yingchao Zhang, 2013. "Parameters of social preference functions: measurement and external validity," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 74(3), pages 357-382, March.

    More about this item


    Combined Research Design; Content Analysis; Electronic Negotiations; Mixed-Method Research; Qualitative Research; Theory Development;

    JEL classification:

    • M19 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Other


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