Summative Analysis: A New Qualitative Method for Social Science and Health Research

Frances Rapport


In this paper the author describes a new qualitative analytic technique that she has been perfecting across a range of health research studies. She describes the summative analysis method, which is a group, collaborative analytic technique that concentrates on consensus-building activities, illustrating its use within a study of Holocaust survivor testimony that aimed to clarify how health and well-being were presented in Holocaust testimonials and what that might reveal about professional perceptions of trauma suffering. The author contextualizes the four stages of summative analysis with data from one Holocaust survivor’s health interviews. The Holocaust study is briefly described, as is the survivor’s background and experiences during the war. The author reflects on the study data and offers examples of individual and group analysis exercises to represent the method in practice. The author concludes with a consideration of the wider uses and implications of summative analysis within health and social scientific contexts.

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