This article presents a technique for analyzing large-scale qualitative data to address considerations for scalability and confirmability in thematic analysis of participant-provided data. A network approach provides a consistent means of coding that scales with the size of the dataset and is verifiable using standardized methods. This form of data analysis can be used with smaller data sources including interview transcripts as well as large data sources such as open-ended survey responses. A constructivist (inductive) approach is maintained and needed, however, to aid in interpretation of latent constructs. In this article, we provide both a conceptual overview of the co-word analysis method and a practical example.


Qualitative Research, Network Analysis, Co-Word Analysis, Thematic Analysis, College Students, Technology

Author Bio(s)

Chung Joo Chung is an Associate Professor in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kyungpook National University. He conducts research on new media and technology, social networks, data science, AI from the perspective of social science. He has published articles in prestigious journals, such as Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Scientometrics, Computers and Education, Social Science Computer Review, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, and Telecommunications Policy. He also contributes to start-up activities and communities. Please direct correspondence to cjchung@knu.ac.kr.

J. Patrick Biddix is a Professor and Associate Director of the Postsecondary Education Research Center (PERC) at the University of Tennessee. His research and teaching focus on research design and assessment, student engagement and involvement, and postsecondary outcomes. Dr. Biddix is the author of Research Methods and Applications for Student Affairs (Jossey-Bass, 2018) and co-authored the 2nd editions of Assessment in Student Affairs (Jossey-Bass, 2016) and Frameworks for Assessing Learning and Development Outcomes 2.0 (CAS, 2020). In 2015, he received a Fulbright Scholar Award to study college student communication and technology use in Montreal, Canada. Please direct correspondence to pbiddix@utk.edu.

Han Woo Park (Corresponding Author) is a Professor in the Dept. of Media & Communication, Interdisciplinary Graduate Programs of Digital Convergence Business and East Asian Cultural Studies, and Founders of Cyber Emotions Research Institute (at YeungNam University) and WATEF (World Association for Triple Helix & Future Strategy Studies), South Korea. He was a pioneer in network science of open and big data in the early 2000s (often called Webometrics) when he used to work for Royal Netherlands Academy and lead the World Class University project. He has published more than 100 articles in SSCI Journals. He is currently Chief Editors for Journal of Contemporary Eastern Asia and Quality & Quantity. Several publications were included in top 10 list of downloads and citations. He has been co-awarded the best paper in EPI-SCImago in 2016 and included in the list of core-candidates of the Derek de Solla Price Memorial Medal in 2017 and 2019. Please direct correspondence to hanpark@ynu.ac.kr.


This research was supported by Kyungpook National University Bokhyeon Research Fund, 2017.

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