data coding

In order to begin coding your data for your plan and report, read your interview and field notes transcripts looking for relationships, themes, and concerns that are relevant to your professional context.

For examples of the data coding process, please refer to the example data coding node.

Use the following framework to guide the marking and coding of your data. The following general steps outline the process through which you will be working:

1. Read through data.

2. Reread data marking significant points.

3. Reread data sorting, categorizing, and coding significant points in terms of issues.
(Note: Successful coding often requires multiple runs through your data. Thus, repeat this step if necessary.)

4. Insert coded data into the downloadable "Data Coding Grid" form.

5. Select a manageable set of issues for analysis.

6. Draft your plan based upon the results of your coding.

step 2: marking your data

After carefully reading through your data at least once (Step 1), you need to mark your data. That is, underline, highlight, or circle points that seem significant or relevant to your professional context. In marking your data, consider:

Points that are mentioned consistently across your data.

Points that are significant anomalies--that are important because they indicate special or unique circumstances, standards, or procedures.

Points that contradict one another.

Connections (among persons, sites, documents, procedures, objects, etc.) that are made explicitly.

Connections or traces (among persons, sites, documents, procedures, objects, etc.) that are implied.

step 3: coding your data

After marking your data for significant points and connections, you need to reread your data, sorting and categorizing the points for more specific issues for analysis. That is, you should develop a system of notations or symbols and literately code the marks in your notes and transcripts using this system. In identifying relationships, themes, and concerns that are relevant to your professional context, code for issues such as:




worker-worker or student-student relationships,

management-worker or teacher-student relationships,

initiation of contact or discourse, and

completion of contact or discourse.


step 4: inserting coded data into "data coding grid"

After coding all of your data, download the "Data Coding Grid" form. Then, cut and paste coded examples from your data into the appropriate categories in the grid.

As noted above, some examples will fit into more than one column of your grid. Once you have plotted your coded data into these issue categories, you can begin considering which issues are most significant to your professional context. This grid also should allow you to develop better your "Contextual Analysis Plan."

Remember to use the downloadable Word form to complete your data coding grid.

step 5: selecting issues for analysis in relation to your context

After completing your data coding grid, you need to select two or three issues that you will analyze in more detail. To determine which issues are most significant for your report, you should review the examples in your data grid noting which columns contain the details most relevant to your professional context. Use the following questions to guide your selection process.

Can you locate details in your notes to illustrate your issues?

Can you support their relevance to your professional context?

Can you make connections among your issues?


Consult the calendar for observation and field notes scheduling and deadlines.

Other Analyzing Professional Contexts Project Links:
Formatting Reference | Project 2 Overview | Interview | Example Interview | Observation | Example Field Notes | Example Data Coding | Contextual Analysis Plan & Report

421 syllabus | 421 calendar