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how does data become usable information? How can it be misused?

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Dear Audrey,
 Qualitative research data becomes a usable information when it has been gathered under proper experimental conditions and appropriate control and points to a new qualitative aspect of a particular research topic.  This kind of research developed in social and behavioral sciences. When someone tries to use inappropriately collected qualitative research data to draw a conclusion or to alter an experimentally supported hypothesis then it is misuse of data. Below I am listing some journals on qualitative research that you may look through to find exact articles supporting proper use of data and its misuse.
Hope  this helps.