Webinar: Collecting Qualitative Data and Building Narratives

Date: January 28th, 2022

Time: 9:00 – 10:30 AM PST

Location: Virtual

Mission-driven organizations, nonprofit and for profit alike, are constantly collecting qualitative data through their service provisions and on-going interactions with beneficiaries, buyers, supporters, donors and other stakeholders. Whether a strategic and systematic approach or simply a contextual outcome, qualitative data or open-ended responses are an excellent reality check. It provides valuable information used to make decisions about the business as a whole from programs to HR issues, innovate service design, drive delivery and improvement, and develop new initiatives. Moreover, using qualitative data in reporting and various interactions has become a requirement which in numerous situations is more powerful than numbers-driven conversations.  

To fully take advantage of the richness provided by qualitative data, a more intentional and systemic approach is required from setting up and implementing a data gathering system to analyzing, reporting and presenting it. In some cases, simple changes in the way organizations approach these processes can be beneficial and lead to valuable learnings.

This interactive lecture provides mission-driven organizations with an overview of best practices, offer tips and strategies, and outline how to collect and analyze qualitative data even when access to human and material resources is limited. 

Learning Objectives

  • Understand qualitative data. How do we know what we think we know?
    • What is it?
    • How does it help?
    • Who can (should) do it?
    • Using qualitative data to help understand quantitative data
  • Design and ask (the right) questions: from context to strategies 
  • Make sense of qualitative data: 
    • Systematizing the idiosyncratic/anecdotal
    • Building the narrative (from many voices to one story)
  • Put qualitative data to work. How to tell the story


Dr. Anthony Jerry is an assistant professor of Anthropology at the University of California Riverside. His professional interests center on issues of citizenship, racial and ethnic discrimination, the experiences of underserved communities in education, methodologies for applied anthropology and social sciences, and social entrepreneurship.

A 2021-2022 SEED Lab Fellow, Dr. Jerry is the founder and Executive Director of Cultural Media Archive, a Riverside based social impact venture focused on creating a vehicle for the public expression of youth voices and experiences of marginalization. 

He earned a PhD in socio-cultural anthropology from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign as well as an MA in Applied Anthropology from San Diego State University and an MBA from the A. Gary Anderson School of Management. He is the recipient of a Fulbright Garcia Robles Fellowship, a Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, and a University of California Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship. He has worked in the Costa Chica Region of Mexico for over 10 years. Anthony is a US Navy veteran with broad experience in the field of education, both at the college and K-12 level. 

This program was made possible in part by the generous support provided by the Wells Fargo Open for Business Fund. Caravanserai Project is the recipient of a Wells Fargo Open for Business Fund award aiming to provide programs and services that support small business viability through growth, expansion, innovation, and increased productivity. Read more about this award.

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