“Schrodinger’s Beefeater”: Kickstarting ‘Qualitative Data Essentials’ with the Volunteer Centre Network

The ‘Qualitative Data Essentials’ training session saw the Volunteer Centre Network use Microsoft Excel to code hilarious TripAdvisor reviews

There is more to sightseeing in London than long queues and getting fleeced by gift shops, so it seems. From their “data dive” into the dark abyss of TripAdvisor reviewing, attendees at the training session for volunteer centres uncovered accusations of torture in the café of the British Museum, a sightseer’s dissatisfaction with the cleanliness of the Queen’s curtains and the curious case of the simultaneously “rude and wonderful” Beefeaters at The Tower who allegedly, went so far as to chase down visitors who had decided to turn up in Tudor Costume. How do we make sense of all this qualitative data?

All you need is a spreadsheet and a good eye…. 

Attendees used Microsoft Excel to analyse their data, applying the “grounded” coding method (Glasser & Strauss, 1967) in an experiment which yielded some fascinating -and hilarious- results as part of a new training session about qualitative data analysis. The training, saw Lucy Smith (London Plus) and Kate White (Superhighways) kickstart the new ‘Qualitative Data Essentials’ series with members of the Volunteer Centre Network.

The session began with a general introduction to qualitative data before attendees got to conduct their own qualitative data analysis. During the “mini-lab” they explored the lived experience of a London sightseer through the lens of textual data sources. Despite all of the fun had during the session, attendees grafted hard and achieved a real feat. Not only did they manage to create qualitative databases in Microsoft Excel, but the group had also learned how qualitative data could be applied to challenges faced by their organisation. As well as analytical skills for branding and reporting purposes.

Participants also received a masterclass in ‘Data & Digital’ from Superhighways Manager (and guru), Kate White, who demonstrated to the group how free online tools and software packages could enhance their use of textual data.

What’s next for Datawise? 

Datawise offers charities in London training, advice and help with data challenges

London’s community data is one of our greatest assets – our mission at Datawise is to help you unlock it.

Excitingly, February’s event marked the beginning of something new for London Plus and the DataWise London scheme. Lucy Smith will be collaborating with other DataWise London partners to lead and deliver the forthcoming program, ‘Qualitative Data Essentials’. Which will showcase the utility of qualitative data for London’s Civil Society. Based on real-world data challenges, these events will incorporate teaching and analysis elements, as well as group work and one-to-one support.

Visit superhighways website to find out more or to book onto a training session.

You can also contact or with any questions.