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Practical Guidance for Studies Using Freelisting Interviews


The freelisting process consists of 4 phases: 1) design and recruitment, 2) data collection, 3) data management, and 4) analysis and reporting. Steps of the design and recruitment phase are 1) select the population; 2) determine what comparisons to make (between groups or concepts), if any; 3) determine how freelisting will be incorporated into the overall design of the study (on its own or with other methods); and 4) remember that a sample of 20 is required to reach saturation. Steps of the data collection phase are 1) design the interview guide; 2) pilot the guide; 3) determine how it will be administered (in person, online, on the telephone), and 4) collect demographic or other data if you plan to sort the data and make comparisons. Steps of the data management phase are 1) create a final list for each question, and clean the list to combine root words, synonyms, and words with similar meanings; 2) if making comparisons, create separate lists (files) for each group for each question (eg, Asian, Question 1); and 3) convert each file into a text file in Anthropac format. Steps of the analysis and reporting phase are 1) import files into Anthropac to generate salient indices; 2) create a scree plot in Excel to visually determine the most salient items; and 3) use Venn diagrams to display similarities and differences between groups.


Phases of the freelisting process.

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Page last reviewed: January 14, 2021