Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

Qualitative analysis coding and categorizing


Published on

Published in: Education, Technology

Qualitative analysis coding and categorizing

  1. 1. Qualitative Analysis: Coding and Categorizing Philip Adu, Ph.D. Methodology Expert National Center for Academic & Dissertation Excellence (NCADE) The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
  2. 2. Outline 1. Meaning of coding 2. Essence of coding 3. Coding process 4. Pre-coding stage: Things to Consider 5. Choosing appropriate coding methods 6. Coding cycles 7. Presenting findings (writing chapter 4) 8. Example of a coding process Codes Categories Themes Theory Think about Qualitative Analysis “It is about reducing data without losing its meaning” ~Philip Adu Qualitative findings Represent the data Address the research question(s)
  3. 3. Meaning of Coding Assigning labels to Data 1. Interview transcripts 2. Documents 3. Artifacts 4. Field notes A code is a word, phrase, or sentence that represents aspect(s) of a data or captures the essence or feature(s) of a data (Saldana, 2013)
  4. 4. Essence of coding 1. Reducing data • Not losing the meaning of the data • Capturing the significant ideas or issues 2. Understanding phenomenon 3. Developing construct • Developing categories and themes – Constructs/conceptual variables: “[They] are the mental definitions of properties of events of objects that can vary”. “…[They] are often expressed in general, theoretical, qualitative, or subjective terms…” Read more: Conceptual Variables - Constructs in Science 4. Developing theory (Hani, 2009; Saldana, 2013)
  5. 5. Coding Process Coding Sorting Synthesizing Theorizing TheoryThemesCategoriesCodes Real or Particular Abstract or General (Saldana, 2013)
  6. 6. Pre-coding Stage: Things to Consider Factors influencing the data analysis process • Background • Beliefs and biases • Interests • Philosophical paradigm a. Being aware of your ‘influence’ b. Bracketing your ‘influence’ 1. Researcher’s Influence
  7. 7. Pre-coding Stage: Things to Consider Documenting personal reflections and impressions • Data collection phase Documenting your thoughts about: What you are observing in the field Your interaction with participants Your experience during the data collection process • Data Analysis phase Documenting your thoughts about: Data analysis process Codes and their respective meanings Relationship among codes, categories, and themes 2. Memoing
  8. 8. 3. Manual or Electronic Coding Manual Coding Electronic Coding Tools Paper, pencil, pen, note cards, hard copy of the transcripts or documents, artifact to be coded Word document (using comment or ‘inset Endnote’ function), excel spreadsheet Computer-Aided Qualitative Data Analysis Software (CAQDAS) such as Nvivo, Atlas ti, and Transana Usability Easy to use especially when data is not a lot Need to familiarize with the functions of the software before starting analyzing data Recommendation: Watching YouTube instructional videos and practicing When to use Small data Recommendation: At the initial stage of data analysis – when familiarizing yourself with the data Large data including videos, and audios that have not been transcribed Organization Time consuming Easy to organize codes, run code frequencies, explore the relationship between codes, and do ‘memoing’
  9. 9. CAQDAS (Computer-Aided Qualitative Data Analysis Software) ATLAS.ti: • sSSmZG7znMUsXLekGikQYrPB-v5 MAXQDA: NVivo: • HyperRESEARCH: QDA Miner: Qualrus: Transana: Weft QDA: (Saldana, 2013, p. 29)
  10. 10. Coding Sorting Synthesizing Theorizing First Cycle Coding methods 1. Attribute coding 2. Descriptive coding 3. Emotion coding 4. Evaluation coding 5. In Vivo coding 6. Magnitude coding 7. Narrative coding 8. Process coding 9. Values coding 10. Themeing data After First Cycle Coding Categorizing codes and generating themes – based on: a. Relationship between codes b. Code frequencies c. Underlying meaning across codes Second Cycle Coding Methods 1. Pattern coding 2. Focused coding 3. Axial coding 4. Theoretical coding Abstract or General Coding Strategies/Methods (Saldana, 2013)
  11. 11. Choosing Appropriate Coding Methods (Type of Qualitative Research Question) (Saldana, 2013; Trochim, 2006)
  12. 12. Choosing Coding Methods Based on Research Question(s) Type of Research Question Meaning Examples Coding Methods (1st Cycle Coding) Ontological research question Related to studying “the nature of participants’ realities” (Capturing participants‘ realities)  “What is the nature of…?”  “What are the lived experiences of…?”  “What is it like being…?” • Attribute • Emotion • In Vivo • Narrative • Process • Values • Themeing Epistemological research question Related to “knowing and an understanding of the phenomenon of interest” (Understanding phenomenon)  “How does…?”  “What does it mean to be…?”  “What factors influence…?” • Descriptive • Evaluation • Magnitude • Narrative • Process • Themeing (Saldana, 2013, p.61)
  13. 13. First Cycle Coding Methods Related to Ontological Research Questions (Capturing participants‘ realities) Coding Methods Function Examples Attribute Coding Coding features of research site(s), participant(s), and material(s) being studied  Participants’ age, gender, & educational level Emotion Coding Coding participants’ sentiments, feelings, reactions, excitements and sensations • From participants’ viewpoint • From researcher's standpoint  Hopelessness  Anxiety  Pessimism  Denial In Vivo Coding Coding by using participants’ own words  “Never again”  “Pay back time”  “No negotiation” Value Coding Coding participants’ “values [V], attitudes [A], and beliefs [B]” (p. 268)  [V] – Education  [A] – Sense of uncertainty  [B] – Existence of discrimination Narrative coding Coding participants’ stories including their interaction with others and retelling them. They can be structured as follows: (1)Abstract [summary], (2) Orientation [characters, setting & time] (3) Complicating action [response/reaction] (4) Evaluation [essence] (5) Results [consequence] (6) Coda [lessons & conclusion] (p. 133)
  14. 14. First Cycle Coding Methods Related to Epistemological Research Questions (Understanding phenomenon) Coding Methods Functions Examples Descriptive coding • Assigning topics to aspects of the data • Normally nouns • For “social environments” (p. 262)  Churches, Schools, Playing ground, Banks, Public library, and Recycle bins Evaluation coding • “Assign[ing] judgments” (p. 119)  (-) ‘Foreign’ to them  (-) Not part of program planning  (+) Sense of independence  (+) Increase in family income  (-) increase in domestic violence Magnitude coding Assigning “intensity, frequency, direction, presence, or evaluative content” to code(s)  High, Moderate & low income  Present & absent motivation  More & less determined Process Coding • Also called action coding • Coding “observable activity” and/or “conceptual action” (p. 96)  Walking  Cooking breakfast  Checking emails  Making calls  Enjoying music  Reflecting Themeing data • Using phrase or sentence to describe or capture the meaning of an aspect of a data  Ability to take care of their children  Ability to pay bills  Ability to have time with their children (Saldana, 2013)
  15. 15. After First Cycle Coding (Sorting) Categorizing codes and generating themes – based on: a. Relationship between codes i. Reference: Are a group of codes making reference to a specific concept? ii. Occurrence: How does a group of codes happen? iii. Sequence: Does one code/a group of codes come before/after the other? b. Code frequencies i. Frequency: How many times does a specific code assigned to parts of the data? c. Underlying meaning across codes i. Essence: Is there an underlying meaning among a group of codes?
  16. 16. Second Cycle Coding Methods (Associated with grounded theory approach) Coding Methods Functions Pattern coding • Examining initial codes • Identifying trends, patterns, relationships • Assigning labels (they could be categories or themes) Focused coding • Identifying “the most frequent or significant initial codes” (p. 264) – looking for: code frequencies, codes relationships, and central codes • Building categories around them Axial coding • Identifying core category (“Core phenomenon”) and related categories • Examining the features and dimensions of categories Causal conditions Core phenomenon Strategies Intervening conditions Consequence (Creswell, 2013, p. 86) Theoretical or Selective coding • Connecting the core category and related categories to create a storyline • The narrative (proposition/theory) should explain a phenomenon (Saldana, 2013)
  17. 17. Presenting Findings (in Chapter 4) 1. Providing background information about participants or the observed (especially the first cycle coding: attribute coding) a. To better understand what they said or you observed 2. Presenting the coding strategies used, number of codes, categories and themes emerged 3. Systematically presenting the findings a. Stating each theme b. Describing what the theme stands for (i.e. meaning of the theme) c. Supporting the theme with an evidence from the data (e.g. Quote from participants)
  18. 18. Presenting Findings cont... (in Chapter 4) • Showing how the findings address the research question(s) • Having a findings summary table (“Findings “at a glance” – Saldana, 2013, p. 254) Category or Theme Meaning (very brief) Evidence from the data (very brief) Theme 1 Theme 2 Theme 3 • Presenting the relationship between themes • Creating diagram to show the relationship between themes Creating diagram: Cmap Creating code landscaping:
  19. 19. Example of a Coding Process 1. Assign labels to your research questions: Anchor codes 2. Code relevant statements and putting the codes under their respective Anchor codes a. Using “comment” or “Insert Endnote” function b. Using multiple coding methods depending on the type of research question(s) 3. Compile a list of initial codes 4. Group codes into their respective anchor codes 5. Tally frequency for each code 6. Generate categories from the codes 7. Examine the categories to generate themes 8. Use the themes to address the research question(s)
  20. 20. By Nathan Sawaya Coding is like using Lego bricks to make an art: it always starts with using meaningless pieces of bricks to create meaningful piece of art ~Philip Adu
  21. 21. Surviving in a Class with the “Most Difficult of Professors” Reviews from Amazon:  “There is a clear need for a book like this. Clear, concise, relevant, and strategically important for any student that encounters a challenging course or educator. Similarly, an outstanding resource for self-reflection for professors and other instructors…”  “Surviving in a Class with the Most Difficult of Professors” is a quick, practical read for students who’ve had challenging experiences with professors and need to place those experiences into perspective. Subsequently, this inspirational text prepares students to be proactive learners in the classroom…” Available for Purchase at Amazon Barnes and Noble Xulon Press
  22. 22. Philip Adu, Ph.D. Methodology Expert National Center for Academic & Dissertation Excellence (NCADE) The Chicago School of Professional Psychology You could reach me at and @drphilipadu on twitter. To cite this document, copy the following: Adu, P. (2013, November 22). Qualitative analysis coding and categorizing. Retrieved from
  23. 23. References Creswell, J. W. (2013). Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choosing Among Five Approaches (3rd). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Hani (2009,January 20). Conceptual Variables. Retrieved from Explorable website: Saldana, J. (2013). The coding manual for qualitative researchers. London: Sage Trochim, W. M. (2006, October 20). Qualitative validity. Retrieved from Research methods knowledge base website: