Coding in Deductive Qualitative Analysis


Published on

This article discusses how to use open, axial, and selective coding in the analysis of qualitative data when researchers conduct studies using deductive qualitative analysis (DQA). Unlike grounded theory, DQA begins with preliminary codes that both guide the research and that researchers expect to test and to change in the course of doing the research. This article reports on email exchanges with two students that Jane Gilgun had. Jane is a professor at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, USA. the students are Anke Reints, a PhD student at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium, and Ben Duncan, a student at Tennessee State University, USA.

Published in: Education, Technology
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Coding in Deductive Qualitative Analysis

  1. 1. Coding in Deductive Qualitative Analysis Jane F. Gilgun, Ph.D., LICSW Summary   This  article  discusses  how  to  use  open,  axial,  and  selective  coding  in  the  analysis  of  qualitative   data  when  researchers  conduct  studies  using  deductive  qualitative  analysis  (DQA).  Unlike   grounded  theory,  DQA  begins  with  preliminary  codes  that  both  guide  the  research  and  that   researchers  expect  to  test  and  to  change  in  the  course  of  doing  the  research.  This  article   reports  on  email  exchanges  between  Anke  Reints, a PhD  student  at  the  Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium, and Jane Gilgun, a professor at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, USA.   About  the  Author   Jane  F.  Gilgun,  Ph.D.,  LICSW,  is  a  professor,  School  of  Social  Work,  University  of  Minnesota,   Twin  Cities,  USA.  Professor  Gilgun  has  related  books,  children’s  stories,  &  articles  on,  Kindle,  iBooks,  and  other  on-­‐line  booksellers.      
  2. 2. Coding in Deductive Qualitative Analysis How to code when doing deductive qualitative analysis (DQA) is a question that many researchers have. In DQA, researchers begin with theory that guides their research. Sometimes the theory is a theoretical model, sometimes a set of inter-related hypotheses, and sometimes the theory is used to guide the research. The initial theory is a source of codes that researchers use to analyze the data they collect. They also expect the test the viability and usefulness of the codes and to change at least some of them and add new ones in the course of doing the research. Negative case analysis is the procedure that guides researchers to look for data that do not fit with the initial theory. When this happens, researchers change the initial theory to fit their findings. Deductive qualitative analysis is different from grounded theory in its use of preliminary theory and coding, but eventually the procedures of both approaches converge in data analysis and in the writing up of results. A basic premise in deductive qualitative analysis is that many researchers have theories they think will help them to focus their research questions. These theories can be based on combinations of preliminary studies, reviews of research and theory, professional experience and personal experience. Few dissertation committees and funders of research will approve research that does not have a well thought out plan of action. Deductive qualitative analysis is responsive to these issues, while maintaining procedures that allow for the identification of new dimensions of social phenomena and the concepts and theories that compose them.   Anke Reints, a Ph.D., student in sports psychology at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium, emailed me in January, 2011, to ask about coding in DQA. She had read two articles I have written on deductive qualitative analysis. One is called “A Primer on Deductive Qualitative Analysis” and the other is “Qualitative Research and Family Psychology.” The following is the email exchange that we had. The article Anke refers to is “Qualitative Research and Family Psychology.” Dear Jane Gilgun, In your article you mention the possibility of using Strauss and Corbin’s coding scheme (including open coding, axial coding, and selective coding), while carrying out DQA. I don’t really understand this, because isn’t it the case that in DQA you already have set your codes a priori? In my case, the components of the model I am testing are my codes. So all the information I gather from the face-to-face interviews are placed under those categories (= components of the model). When I read about grounded theory, I feel here you create your own categories. Do you get my confusion? This is how I answered Anke. I edited this answer for the sake of clarity and completeness. I did not edit any of the other emails. Hi, Anke. Good questions. Yes, in DQA you do have prior codes, but you work at trying to improve the ones you started with and developing new ones if what you see in your
  3. 3. research material warrants new codes. Negative case analysis helps you to look for exceptions to your emerging analysis so that what you come up with is more inclusive than what you began with. It is easy to find material that supports the prior codes, but it is just as important in many cases to find material that does not fit into your codes. When you find material that does not fit your initials codes, you give names to that new material. In other words, you code the new material. You may also change some of your initial codes if you have material that supports that. With grounded theory type of coding, you usually first do open coding, which means you simply go through the material and mark up the text with any ideas that come to mind. In deductive qualitative analysis, you also do open coding, but you can do it before or after you code using your prior codes. When you do negative case analysis, you look for any material that does not fit emerging new understandings. You then give names to that new material. In other words, you code that new material. Negative Cases Analysis You do negative case analysis in at least two points in your research: while you are still collecting data and when you are analyzing data. Negative case analysis during data collection. While collecting data, it is important to look for and inquire about any exceptions to the general statements that research informants make and any exceptions to the general description of informant actions that you are developing. This is within-case negative case analysis. Also, in choosing your units of analysis—that is, cases to include in your research—it is important to collect data from persons/situations that differ slightly from the cases you have already collected data from and on the basis of which you have already developed preliminary ideas. Negative case analysis during analysis. When analyzing data, researchers typically develop a story line/narrative/descriptions of processes that they can show fits the material they have collected. In developing these narratives, researchers at some point also look for any material that can show the various patterns that can occur within these descriptions. Typically, researchers look for material that can add to, undermine, and even refute what they so far have described. Through negative case analysis, researchers will produce a description of processes/concepts that account for patterns, or multiple dimensions of the phenomena of interest. DQA and Axial and Selective Coding Axial coding happens naturally in my experience. This involves seeing connections between the various codes. You show what connects to what and what might not connect to other things. You also want to show how they are connected. Selective coding happens once you have identified the codes or core concepts that you want to concentrate on. This involves coding again, this time using the codes that
  4. 4. stand for the concepts you think are really strong. Some of these codes/concepts can be prior codes, but could also have some new codes/concepts that you didn't begin with or you could modify some of the codes you did begin with. This is Anke’s response to the above email. Awesome, and yes I do get your point. Just one more (little) thing. Is it true that by using maximum variability (in my sample I have selected a variety of types), I am following the idea of negative case analysis. Namely that because there are many different types of participants, the chance is there that several cases will not fit my prior codes. The following is my answer. Yes. The sampling procedures you are thinking of following would give you a variety that would challenge your coding scheme. Typically negative case analysis involves doing a series of cases that are similar and then choosing a negative case, but if you are clear about your sampling, variations are fine. Discussion Deductive qualitative analysis is different from how many people think researchers are supposed to do qualitative research. On the other hand, a surprising number of qualitative researchers do theory-guided research. They typically are not clear about the procedures they follow. This article and others I have written on deductive qualitative analysis seeks to articulate and clarify procedures for doing theory-guided and theory-testing qualitative research. References Gilgun, Jane F. (2005). Qualitative research and family psychology. Journal of Family Psychology,19(1), 40-50. Gilgun, Jane F. (2009). Deductive qualitative analysis and family theory building. Gilgun, Jane F. (2010). A primer on deductive qualitative analysis and family theory building. Gilgun, Jane F. (2010). A primer on deductive qualitative analysis: A slideshow. Gilgun, Jane F. (2010). Case-based research, analytic induction, and theory development: The future and the past. Gilgun, Jane F. (2010). The intellectual roots of grounded theory.
  5. 5. ebook/dp/B004D4ZOVO/ref=sr_1_67?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digitaltext&qid=1295639644&sr=1-67