Coding and Data Analysis Process in Qualitative Research Essay

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Coding and Data Analysis Process in Qualitative Research

"Coding is the process of combing the data for themes, ideas and categories and then marking similar passages of text with a code label so that they can easily be retrieved at a later stage for further comparison and analysis. Coding the data makes it easier to search the data, to make comparisons and to identify any patterns that require further investigation" (Taylor & Gibbs 2010). Coding is a critical aspect of qualitative research as without effective coding there is nothing but a sea of potentially interesting but not necessarily useable data. It could also be argued that during the coding process analysis is already taking place, given that qualitative research is empirical and proceeds 'from the ground up:' during the coding process, the theory or ideas about the subject matter are only just beginning to take shape. Some codes before the data is recorded may come from pre-existing categories but other codes may arise organically from the data. Bits of data may be 'coded' more than once in some instances if they fall under two categories. Also, data may be coded according to, for example, race and gender of respondents rather than the content of the response alone.

Although coding may sound 'numeric,' qualitative research is about turning non-numerical data into analyzable chunks: there is no quantifiable hypothesis before the research takes place. The lack of a hypothesis is one reason why quantitative researchers occasionally criticize qualitative approaches as unscientific. However, by having two separate individuals code the data and then reconciling them, objections about bias may be quelled. "Qualitative research is more defensible when multiple coders are used and when high inter- and intra-coder reliability are obtained. Intercoder reliability refers to consistency…

Sources Used in Document:


Chapter 17: Qualitative data analysis. Retrieved from:

Taylor, C. & Gibbs, G.R. (2010). How and what to code. Online QDA Web Site. Retrieved from:

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