Coding the Data and Developing Themes

In this assignment, you will analyze interview and focus group transcripts (three in total) by inductively coding the data and developing themes. This will mimic the process and feeling of coding a large study though on a much smaller scale. Read the following key points before completing this assignment.

· Coding is a step in a thematic analysis approach to data. Different qualitative designs may require different coding procedures. For example, coding in a case study is not the same as in phenomenological or narrative designs.

· Coding is conducted based on identifying similar topics that recur in the document regardless of frequency of occurrence. Something that recurs may not be significant, but simply common. Keep focus on the meaning of statements, not in their frequency.

· For the purposes of this assignment, you will use three generic steps in the coding process: (a) open coding, (b) collapsing the dozens of codes into a manageable number of codes, and (c) development of themes.

· Coding generally follows this progression: codes>categories>themes. Codes are the smallest unit of meaning and are then subsumed into categories, which are then subsumed into themes.

· Note: Analysis of the interview and focus group transcripts should be done separately, as each had different questions. Once the transcripts for the two data sets are coded separately, then they can be combined and reconciled.


Perform the following tasks to conduct the analysis.

Task 1: Open Coding.

Hand code the data. To analyze the data, you must first identify codes and themes that appear in the data. To accomplish this, do the following:

· Make sure all transcripts are in a Word document. Do the interview transcripts first and then the focus group transcripts (see note above).

· Read each transcript several times and identify “chunks” of data (phrases, sentences, or paragraphs) that strike you as important. Mark the words in some fashion (highlight, circle, bold, underline). One idea is to highlight the transcripts, using a color for each code.

· When you recognize statements on the same topic that recur, make note of them. That is, circle or highlight them in the text.

· After reading all transcripts several times, review the recurring “chunks” of text you marked or wrote down and identify a list of useful codes.

· Create a code book that lists your codes, definitions and examples from the transcripts. See Table 1 below.

· Create a table that shows the recurring chunks of data with notes. This will help you collapse or group those numerous codes into a more manageable set.

Table 1

Code Book


Definition of the Code

Example From Transcript

Table 2 Chunks of Data that Appear Frequently

Chunk of data (phrases, sentences, or paragraphs)

Notes on the Words/Phrases

Notes on Emerging Categories

Write down the word(s) or phrase(s) here.

For example, do they appear in a transcript of one particular interview, or do they show up in several interviews? If they show up in several, there is a pattern that cross-cuts individuals.

As you review the list of words/phrases in column 1, and see some patterns, you can name the patterns. Collapse the repeating words/phrases into 4-5 (or whatever seems relevant) categories.

Write down the words or phrases here.

Keep writing down many words/phrases that appear frequently, until you have written them all down.

Task 2: Collapse Codes into Categories

You may have identified dozens of codes in the open coding process. During this process, you will group together like phrases and chunks of text to reduce the number of codes. Collapse the codes into a manageable list of categories by doing the following:

· Review the list of codes you identified in Table 1.

· Group together like phrases and chunks of text to reduce the number of codes to about half the number you identified in open coding. The new reductions are called categories ( use Table 2). For example your codes might include: love, hate, sadness and happiness. A category for these codes could be: emotions.

· Based on the new groups and names, create a new code book indicating the categories.

Table 3

Revised Code Book



Examples From Transcript

Task 3 Develop Themes.

Do the following to identify themes:

· Review your list of categories and identify themes or overarching concepts that capture the categories.

· List the themes and substantiate them with quotations from the transcripts. Use Table 4 below.

Table 4 Inductively Developed Themes


Examples of Quotes From the Transcripts

Theme 1: Put the name of the theme here.

Put a quote here that represents the theme

Place additional examples of quotes for this theme in each cell in this table.

Theme 2: Put the name of the theme here

Put a quote here that represents the theme

Place additional examples of quotes for this theme in each cell in this table.

Repeat process with each theme

Task 4: Compile Data and Write a Thematic Narrative of Findings.

Do the following to compile the data and write a thematic narrative of findings:

· For each theme you identified, write two paragraphs that clearly describe the theme and its nature. Summarize the findings in your own words, but be sure to weave in evidence from quotes to illustrate your points.

· Include the code book and the tables you created to show the data graphically/visually.

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