5. Methods and Counting Crime
Once all the data have been collected and returned to us, we now need to take the responses provided and turn them into useable data. The closed-ended questions will be converted into numbers, which are entered into a spreadsheet or other analysis program. We will need to develop a coding sheet where we agree, for instance, that a yes is entered as a 1 and a no is entered as a 0, while for other Likert scale-type questions, a strongly agree is entered as a 5 while a strongly disagree might be entered as a 1. By following consistent data entry rules, we will have fewer errors (Hagan, 2014). Our financial exploitation data will be completely quantitative, allowing numerical analysis to take place in the next step.
Even the open-ended questions in the spiritual abuse example, where participants answered questions in a lengthy face-to-face interview, will need to be processed in some way. Typically, the responses will be typed into a document or a discourse analysis program like NVivo so specific words and phrases can be grouped into categories for qualitative analysis and comparison. Our spiritual abuse data are predominantly qualitative, based on the in-depth interviews with open-ended questions about spirituality, spiritual practices, spiritual objects and any issues they have encountered in practising their spirituality.