How to face Open End Coding?
You may say it is obvious: codification is the act of generating codes. In research, codification generally means to process a chunck of information that was collected in a raw form, usually qualitative information. This data will be transformed into a code: a label that means always the same, never mind which field or subject is associated to it.
So, that code is is a short word or phrase that describe the meaning of the whole sentence, phrase or paragraph, and that replace the original wording. This code makes possible counting and sumarizing processes. Codes help quantify qualitative responses and give meaning to raw data. Usually this involves two steps : first, the generation of an original code list and then, the use of it to codify the rest of the data.
There are several ways to accomplish this process :
- a) Using a sample of responses (or a previous research) the coder arrange a list of codes, that will apply to the whole data.
- b) At the first step, the coder use computational programs that check out the whole data and find short phrases that appear flecuently. Later, the coder uses this information to generate an original code list, that would change or grow during the process.
- c) Codes are generated all along the process. That means that the code list would be growing until arriving to the last register.
No matter the process used, coding is usually a long and thedious process, that involves a lot of manual work, even in case that you have the help of a program. The meaning of the words are not always literal, humans use slang, proverbs and other things than dificult the comprehension. Because of that, codification always need some level of human intervention.
Coding always implies a compromise. Trying to preserve the original meaning of the response. Coders with experience know how to do it.