Coding is a ubiquitous part of the qualitative research process, but it is often under-considered in research methods training and literature. This article explores a number of questions about the coding process which are often raised by beginning researchers, in the light of the recommendations of methods textbooks and the factors which contribute to an answer to these questions. I argue for a conceptualisation of coding as a decision-making process, in which decisions about aspects of coding such as density, frequency, size of data pieces to be coded, are all made by individual researchers in line with their methodological background, their research design and research questions, and the practicalities of their study. This has implications for the way that coding is carried out by researchers at all stages of their careers, as it requires that coding decisions should be made in the context of an individual study, not once and for all.
Coding, Qualitative Data Analysis, CAQDAS
I am grateful to successive cohorts of Advanced Qualitative Research students in the Social Science Division for their prompting of many of the questions which stimulated the production of this article.
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Recommended APA Citation
Elliott, V. (2018). Thinking about the Coding Process in Qualitative Data Analysis. The Qualitative Report, 23(11), 2850-2861. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2018.3560