Qualitative data coding is a very important thing in project making as it enables one to come up with categories and themes that lead to conclusion. However, it is important to note that the process must be done right if you want to get the desired results. Therefore, it is important to master the steps for qualitative coding so that you can go through the process smoothly. Read on to discover these steps.
Run the data through the first pass
The first step in coding involves reading through the data before assigning codes into different excerpts. This step is fast and shallow and a researcher should not mind a lot about creating the perfect code. This is because you will have a chance to evolve and adjust the codes as needed during the second pass. To determine which names to give to the codes and where each data goes, you can follow these tips:
• In Vivo coding. In this type of coding, you code an excerpt based on the respondent’s words. Here, you are trying to utilize the meaning and intent that the respondent had and not interpreting the excerpt in your own words. This is very important as it gives you a true picture of what people really want.
• Process coding. In this type of coding, you are trying to capture actions in the data. this means that the coding will end with ‘_ing’
• Open coding. In open coding, you have to break the data into discrete excerpts that represent a label, definition, category name, and description. However, the codes created here are intended to be loose so that they can be evolved as you go along. This can be done in the next rounds of coding.
• Descriptive coding. In this type of coding, you summarize the content of the data sample into a description.
• Structural coding. With this type of coding, you categorize data into a specific structure with intentions of reorganizing the data at a much later date. The codes can be grouped in a particular way. In one category, you can group codes that are either similar to one another or cover a specific topic or area of study. Later, you can move the codes accordingly until you find a structure that suits your research objectives and analysis.
Organize your codes into subcategories and sub codes
After the first round of passing over your data, you can begin grouping your codes into categories. Also, you can put together codes that are similar within each category based on their topic and content. You can work on these categories until you find a structure that suits your analysis.
Do more rounds of qualitative data coding
The next step in the process of qualitative data coding is to re-examine the codes and categories that you have created in the first two steps. At this stage, you may re-code, rename, re-categorize, and merge codes that you have created so far. And although the first pass was shallow, this stage of qualitative data coding is about finding patterns, re-analyzing, and preparing you to develop theories and concepts.
Turn the categories and codes into your final narrative
After completing your qualitative data coding rounds, you can use your categories and codes to come up with your final narrative. And depending on the intended purpose of your research, the final outcome can come in the form of a narrative, a set of findings and as a theory. At this stage of qualitative data coding, you must connect your narrative with the codes and categories that you made in the earlier stages.