Codes are ways to discover, identify and label repeated evidence collected from qualitative data: surveys, interviews, observations, focus groups, etc.
Saldana states, “The is no ‘best’ way to code…” and advocates a Pragmatist Paradigm of the “right tool for the right job” (Saldana, 2008 p. 2).
29 Coding methods: a few examples (states rarely are all used, even throughout a career).
Descriptive Code: summarizes the primary topic of an excerpt.
In Vivo Code: taken directly from the participant and is indicated by quotes.
Initial Coding: an open-ended process, where first impressions are recorded
Process Code: a word or phrase that captures action
Simultaneous Coding: two or more codes within a single datum
First Cycle: the first pass when reviewing data, a single word or phrase can be used
Second Cycle: revisit the passages and edit, reword, or regroup
Decoding: decipher the core meaning(s) from a passage
Encoding: labeling the passage
Patterns: have various forms
Filters: how one perceives, documents and codes the data
Codifying & Categorizing: creating a systematic arrangement, even if one category might be labeled “differences”
Recoding and recategorizing: Repeat first and second cycle, are they any changes? Codes, themes, groups and categories may change
As the categories, subcategories and concepts become evident, they can begin to be related to theory. Layer upon layer can be found and built upon each other.
Code vs Theme: A theme is an outcome of a coding, categorizing, and analytic reflection.
What to code? Depends…
Life happens at four coordinates: participants, activities, time, and place
Units of social organization
- Cultural practices
- Social and personal relationships
- Groups and Cliques
- Settlements and habitats
- Subcultures and lifestyles
Questions to consider:
- What coding method(s) is appropriate for your study?
- What method(s) have you used so far?
- What kinds of questions to ask that do not narrow the answer of the participant?
- What is involved in the First cycle and when does one begin the Second Cycle?
- What is the rationale for recoding and recategorizing?
- How does the researcher find the emergent themes and connect them to a theory?