This is a term given to the analysis process.  The involves:

immersion - a process whereby researchers immerse themselves in the data they've collected by reading or examining some portion of the data in detail

crystallization - is the process of temporarily suspending the process of examining or reading the data (immersion) in order to reflect on the analysis experience and attempt to identify and articulate patterns or themes noticed during the immersion process

These dual processes continue until all the data have been examined and patterns and claims emerge from the data that are meaningful and can be well articulated and substantiated


Borkan, J. (1999). "Immersion/Crystallization." In BF Crabtree and WL Miller (Eds.) Doing Qualitative Research (2nd Edition). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.  pp. 179-194.

Miller, WL.  & Crabtree, BF. (1992). "Primary care research: A multimethod typology and qualitative roadmap." In BF Crabtree and WL Miller (Eds.) Doing Qualitative Research (1st edition). Newbury Park, CA. Sage Publication.  pp. 3-28).

Miller, WL. & Crabtree, BF. (1994). "Clinical Research." In NK Denzin and YS Lincoln (Eds.) Handbook of Qualitative Research (pp. 340-352). Thousand oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Miller, WL. & Crabtree, BF. (1994). "Qualitative analysis: How to begin making sense." Family Practice Research Journal, 14(3), 289-297.

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