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geo methods geography 5161 spring 2010 amanda kass n.
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Coding for Qualitative Research

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  1. Geo-Methods Geography 5161, Spring 2010 Amanda Kass Codingfor Qualitative Research

  2. What is Coding? • “Coding is analysis” (Miles & Huberman 1994, 56). • Coding, “involves taking text data or pictures gathered during data collection, segmenting sentences (or paragraphs) or images into categories, and labeling those categories with a term…” (Creswell 2009, 186). • “It is important to note the different epistemology here from many quantitative projects. What is generally of interest is not so much the codes as the text they denote, not how often they occur but what is in them” (Crang 1997, 188).

  3. Why Code? • Minimize data overload • Some types of computer software can aid in content analysis • Useful in identifying themes and patterns • Can be used with many other methods ethnography, interviews, surveys, discourse analysis, focus groups

  4. How and When to code? • When do you develop your codes? • A priori, predefined, predetermined • Inductive, post-defined • Combination, accounting-scheme guide • When do you code? • Hand-coding versus Computer software

  5. Example & Types of Codes • Sample field note:“I asked him what the need for the new program was, and he responded that the students coming into 9th grade were two years below grade level and that the old curriculum was ineffective. Through testing…it was determined that students were growing academically only 5 or 6 months during the 10-month school year.” • Descriptive Code: MOT = Motivation • Interpretive Code: PUB-MOT = Public Motivation (Miles & Huberman 1994, 57)

  6. Example & Types of Codes • Pattern Codes: Inferential and Explanatory. Used when a “segment of field notes illustrates an emergent leitmotiv or pattern that you have discerned in local events and relationships.” • Analogous “to the cluster-analytic and factor-analytic devices used in statistical analysis.” • Sample Codes: LM = Leitmotiv PATT = Pattern TH = Theme CL = Casual Link (Miles & Huberman 1994, 57 & 69)

  7. Qualitative Computer Software • MAXqda–“The Art of Text Analysis” • Atlas.ti- “Tame your Data. Go wild with your research” • QSR NVivo– “Organize. Analyze. Visualize. Report.” • HyperRESEARCH– “Simply Powerful Tools for Qualitative Analysis” • Kwalitan

  8. Downsides & Weaknesses • “Laborious and time-consuming” (Creswell 2009, 188). • “Coding is hard, obsessive work” (Miles & Huberman 1994, 65). • For manual (or hand) coding you may have to revise codes or codebook numerous times. • Computer software can be expensive and time-consuming to learn.

  9. Theoretical Debates • Post-structuralism: • Coding is concerned with interpretation and representation of data. Post-structuralism is concerned with, “struggles over representation” (Johnston and Sidaway 2004, 281). • Representations (be it a newspaper, photograph, or diary) are never neutral nor is the researcher neutral in analyzing the meaning of a text; representations are always tied up with power.

  10. Theoretical Debates • Discourse: “A specific series of representations and practices through which meanings are produced, identities constituted, social relations established, and political and ethical outcomes made more possible” (Gregory et al. 2009, 166). • Discourse Analysis • Formal Method vs. Critical Interpretative Approach • Primary concern: formal components & properties of linguistic representations vs. social practices made possible by language. (Gregory et al. 2009, 167).

  11. Theoretical Debates • Feminist Geography • “Great care is needed when developing a coding scheme because rigid categorization is a major weakness…” (Kwan 2002, 164). • “Social differentiation should be defined by using many dimensions…” (Kwan 2002, 164).

  12. Reference List Baker, Paul. 2006. Using corpora in discourse analysis. Continuum Discourse Series, ed. Ken Hyland. New York: Continuum. Crang, Mike. 1997. Analyzing qualitative materials. In Methods in human geography: A guide for students doing a research project, eds. Robin Flowerdew and David Martin, 183-196. Essex, England: Longman. Creswell, John W. 2009. Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. 3rd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications. Gregory, Derek; Johnston, Ron; Pratt, Geraldine; Watts, Michael J. and Sarah Whatmore, eds. 2009.The dictionary of human geography. 5th ed. Malden, MA: Wiley- Blackwell. Kwan, Mei-Po. 2002. Quantitative methods and feminist geographic research. In Feminist geography in practice: Research and methods, ed. Pamela Moss, 160-173. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers. Johnston, R. J. and J. D. Sidaway. 2004. Geography & Geographers: Anglo-American human geography since 1945. 6th ed. New York: Oxford University Press. Miles, Matthew B. and A. Michael Huberman. 1994. An expanded sourcebook: Qualitative data analysis. 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.