Coding, decoding, encoding…

We launched the distance ed survey last Friday. Hurray!!! Thanks to those of you who contributed to its design and to participants who consented and completed the survey 🙂

I’ve returned to reading and coding my participants’ learning logs from the last course after a hiatus designing the survey. Each time I return to the coding process, I feel compelled to revisit my research questions and data analytic strategies. What comforts me is that I tend to return to a similar mixed-methodological approach, combining both qualitative and quantitative approaches (Tashakkori & Teddlie, 1998).

For example, I started reading and free coding inductively in NVivo 2.0, the qualitative data analysis software. This allows themes to emerge from data and not be determined a priori (e.g. Lincoln & Guba, 1985) following an inductive logic. However, I re-organized my free nodes into more deductively derived categories more akin to what Miles & Huberman (1994) suggest. I wonder if I prefer to mix approaches because of my initial research training and experiences in experimental psychology–I just feel more comfortable with a bit more structure?! I’ve previously blogged about coding , on much the same sort of experience. Laura has blogged extensively about coding, and I’ve talked about coding with Bruce, Kim, and others. Coding is such hard work.

BTW, the title of this entry is an allusion to Small World, a hilarious David Lodge novel about academic life, among others. Another of that genre that I’m planning to read is Kingsley Amis’s Lucky Jim. Maybe at the cottage…


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