Sequence analysis has been widely used to investigate the patterns of similarities and differences of sequential data in biology and sociology. However, the debate on the usage of sequence analysis in social sciences has not been settled yet. Among a long list, sequence analysis methods have been criticized for ignoring the qualitative information behind the sequences. This paper presents a new instrument for inspecting sequential data visually in qualitative studies. The method includes building a hierarchical tree of relations among the categories which is then used to recode the categories systematically. The recoding process is meant to give meaning to the differences among categories and, therefore, increases our ability to see the differences. The instrument is a fruit of a qualitative study carried out to explore student’s learning patterns. The focus in this paper will be on the algorithm of recoding the categories and how the emergent codes can be plotted to generate insights for further qualitative investigation.


: Sequence Analysis, Qualitative Studies, Learning Patterns, Data Analysis, Categorization, Sequences

Author Bio(s)

Alaa Aldahdouh is a PhD candidate at University of Minho, Portugal. He has a computer engineering degree with more than 10 years of experience in software development. His major area of interest resides in investigating online learning, digital literacy, online experience, learning theories, connectivism, and MOOC. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: AlaaAlDahdouh@gmail.com


I am grateful to Professor António J. Osório and Professor Susana Caires for their valuable advice and encouragement throughout the qualitative study in which this instrument has been developed.

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





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