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Coding Approaches to making sense of qualitative data.

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1 Coding Approaches to making sense of qualitative data

2 What is Coding? Coding is the process of organizing and interpreting qualitative or open-ended data. Interviews Observations Open-ended survey responses You code through pattern-matching and analysis. Without coding, the data is doesn’t mean anything.

3 How? There are two types of coding A priori (“from the earlier”) – coding based on a predetermined theory or categories. Used when you have data from a previous study, or a previous study used a similar coding scheme. Used when looking at data through a particular domain or lens of interpretation such as rhetorical or behaviorist Inductive – coding based on the frequencies or patterns within the data. Most commonly used in original studies; data is examined multiple times looking for patterns.

4 Pattern Matching Word/idea repetition – looking for how often something appears in the data. It’s more than counting because of synonyms and metaphorical language. Compare and contrast – comparing the degree or frequency compared to other responses. Keywords in context – an answer is often embedded in a larger sentence or expression.

5 Analysis Transition and function words – looking at how function words are used (e.g. and, for, but, however, besides, not) Logic and argument – looking at how evidence or examples follow (or don’t) an answer can show conditions, attitudes, and consequences. Filtering (a priori) – using a theory to “interpret” a response. Logos, ethos, pathos (rhetoric), claim, evidence, warrants (Toulmin argument). Filtering doesn’t have to use formal theory—it can be a condition, attitude or consequence. How might a parent “read” this data? How might a peer “read” this data?

6 Categorizing Flat coding – writing down the codes/categories in a single list E.g. Bored, stressed, angry, night, day, alone, socially Tree coding – writing down the codes/categories in a hierarchical or contingent list Play -> bored, stressed Don’t play -> bored, stressed

7 Code list Once you have determined your code, write down a coding sheet. This coding sheet should have the categories and the primary keywords, patterns, methods for determining whether a piece of data “counts” as being in that category On the coding sheet, keep track of key passages. In qualitative research, you need the pattern but also an example quote of what that data would look like. These quotes you should use in your final written report


9 How often do you watch movies? “I watch movies a lot in my free time” “I watch Netflix mostly” “On Fridays, I like to go to opening nights” “My roommate watches movies all the time, but I’m too busy doing homework. Sometimes if I’m not busy, I’ll watch with her.” “Anything with zombies is better in theaters, but I guess as long as there is a group, it doesn’t matter.” “When I have money, which is never.” “I don’t like….I mean, on TV is the worst. When my boyfriend wants to see a movie, I will go, and that can be fun.” “Netflix and I’ll download movies I didn’t get to see in the theater.” “I have so much homework and then with lacrosse and everything else, I only get to see a movie once a week or so. Not often.” “Whenever I can get a chance” “I would rather play World of Warcraft”

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