Coding, Categories, and Themes

Qualitative researchers approach data collection with an appreciation of the data sources (the participants, documents, etc.) as the key to understanding the phenomenon of interest. The same is true for data analysis. The researcher chooses an approach or approaches in order to systematically move through the words and images to identify codes, categories and themes that will reflect the sources’ experience.

A code is a word or short phrase that assigns an attribute, idea, or quality to a portion of text or visual data.

A category is a collection of these codes that share attributes, meaning, and/or intent. It is also labeled with a word or short phrase.

A theme is developed from one or more categories and can represent a “manifest” (directly observable) or “latent” (underlying) aspect of the phenomenon.

For this Discussion, you will examine coding, categories, and themes in your qualitative data you previously collected.

To prepare for this Discussion:

Review Chapter 8 of the Ravitch and Carl text and Chapter 12 of the Rubin and Rubin text and consider the differences in coding, categories, and themes.

Use the Course Guide and Assignment Help found in this week’s Learning Resources to search for books, encyclopedias and articles related to coding, categories, and themes in qualitative research.

Review your coding of your phone interview transcript. Identify two or more codes that could be grouped into a category. Next, identify samples of text you chose to define the codes.

Do the same for one of the Scholars of Change videos that you coded.

Consider if you can detect a theme emerging from your data analysis process. If you can identify a theme, name and describe it. If you cannot, consider why this is the case.

Post an explanation of the differences between codes, categories, and themes. Provide examples from your work. Use your Learning Resources and the article you found to support your explanation.

Be sure to support your main post and response post with reference to the week’s Learning Resources and other scholarly evidence in APA style

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