Content from Introduction to Qualitative Data

Last updated on 2024-06-21 | Edit this page



  • What can we learn from existing qualitative data?
  • How is qualitative interview data typically structured?


  • Appreciate the goals and approach of this lesson
  • Identify opportunities and barriers for qualitative data reuse
  • Practice finding and downloading data from a qualitative data repository

For decades, a movement has been building among quantitative researchers to share data and analysis as completely as possible. In part, this is meant to improve scientific transparency, so findings can be checked and verified, but it also serves to provide a basis for future studies.

Qualitative researchers have been much slower to adopt data and analysis sharing, for a few different reasons, including both technical and normative constraints. On the technical side, qualitative data has had limited standards, and analysis has often been conducted manually or with specialized software with limited compatibility with other software. More importantly, however, qualitative researchers tend to emphasize the role of both the context of data collection and the perspective of the researcher in the research process - in contrast to quantitative methods that often seek precisely to minimize the subjectivity of their methods and draw wide-ranging conclusions about entire populations.

Moreover, qualitative data often presents challenges for protecting privacy when sharing data, because interviews, focus groups, and other qualitative methods provide rich detail that can make it easier to identify participants even if direct identifiers are removed, as well as often dealing with sensitive issues.

Despite these challenges, however, there is a small but growing movement to share and reuse qualitative and mixed methods data and analysis, helped along by recent technical developments.

In this lesson, we will start by exploring what advantages sharing and reusing qualitative research can offer that might offset the challenges it presents, then practice finding, reusing, and sharing data and analysis projects with the largest qualitative data archive, QDR, and the most widely used coding and qualitative data analysis software, NVivo.

The data we will work with are real data, although the scenario we use is somewhat artificial. Our goal is twofold - to help build literacy and skills for working with secondary qualitative data using relevant tools and to help develop an imagination for how you might reuse and share qualitative and mixed methods data to improve your own research.

Reusing Qualitative Data

The first step to reuse is to understand what elements might be reused and why. Historically, research products like articles and books have been the primary shared output of qualitative research. However, there are at least four other common research products that may be valuable for reuse or adaptation:

  • methodologies and instruments
  • raw data
  • codebooks
  • analysis

In the next step, we’ll download some real qualitative data and explore how each of these products might be useful to another researcher.

Types of data

Throughout this lesson, we’ll be using semi-structured interviews, one of the most common types of qualitative data, in our examples and discussion. Content analysis generally involves similar concerns and processes, but uses other kinds of secondary data, such as published print or audio-visual materials. Other qualitative methods, such as participant observation and focus groups, may be somewhat less suited to these tools and approaches and may require adaptation beyond what is discussed here.

Part of the power of qualitative research is its recognition that no method can be truly universal and that all analysis is contextual. We encourage you to treat the discussion and tools here as starting points, rather than templates.

Finding and Downloading QDR Data

Discussing data reuse in the abstract can only get you so far. Instead, we will imagine we face the following scenario and working together to discover how we can take advantage of others hard work to improve our research:

You are preparing to conduct a study of social media users in multiple countries, with a focus on understanding how people make decisions about the privacy of their posts and profiles.

Participants will complete brief surveys about their demographic background, participate in one or more semi-structured interviews, and provide access to their posts on each platform they regularly use for a period of 1 month. You are the lead researcher, but are joined by both long-term collaborators and student research assistants, who are likely to come and go throughout the expected duration of the research.

Your training in qualitative research makes you skeptical of the value of data that was collected for other purposes, but you also know you won’t have much time to collect the data and need to ensure you make the most of the opportunity and structure your interviews so they can reveal critical findings.

One of your collaborators referenced a dissertation that used qualitative methods to study data sharing in qualitative and big social research, and you noticed that the dissertation mentioned that anonymized data are available online. Although your research questions differ from theirs, you wonder if their interviews might help guide how you approach your study and decide to take a look.

The first step to finding out whether this data can help is to get the data.

Following the link in the dissertation, visit the data’s summary page at the Qualitative Data Repository, or QDR. QDR describes itself as

…a dedicated archive for storing and sharing digital data (and accompanying documentation) generated or collected through qualitative and multi-method research in the social sciences and related disciplines.

Essentially, QDR is a place for researchers to share qualitative and mixed methods data in a variety of forms, as well as their analysis projects. Some data are restricted and require an application or agreement before using, but other data, including what we are interested in, are openly available to any registered user.

Before going to the trouble of registering, let’s take a look at what is actually available in this data collection.

Screenshot of a webpage titled "Interviews regarding data curation for qualitative data reuse and big social research" within QDR

The description, once expanded with the Read full description button summarizes the project, research questions, data collection process, and what is included in the collection here.

Assessing usefulness

Spend a few minutes reading the description and discuss with a partner how helpful you think this data might be for the social media privacy project and why.

This project contains a wide variety of information, including:

  • interview transcripts from three different populations
  • interview analysis
  • participant summaries
  • interview guides
  • study documents (consent forms, solicitations, IRB)

Both the topic and the range of data available seem promising, and the QDR Standard Access license agreement allows any registered user to download the data, so let’s download it and see what we find!

If you don’t already have one, you’ll need to create an account at QDR for the next step. To do so, click Register. in the top right of the summary page. Fill out the registration form and click Create new account, performing any necessary verification before proceeding.

Once you have a QDR account, log in with the button on the top right and return to the [summary page][mannheimer-qdr]. Click Download Data Project (see image below), download the ZIP file to your desktop, and extract the files into a folder on your desktop.

Screenshot highlighting the Download Data Project context menu for a QDR project

File types

Open the folder using Finder (Mac) or Explorer (Windows) and inspect the file extensions (the part after the . in the filename). What types of files are included and what software would typically be used to open them?

Don’t worry if you don’t recognize all of the file types. Just identify what you know. If you have time during the exercise, you can use a web search like open pdf file) to search for information.

The project includes the following four types of files:

  • txt files are plain text and can be opened in any notepad or document software
  • pdf files can be opened with Adobe Reader or other document software
  • nvpx files are NVivo for Mac projects and can only be opened in NVivo for Mac or converted in NVivo for Windows to a Windows format
  • qdpx files are the REFI-QDA qualitative interchange format and can be opened in a variety of qualitative software

In this project, the txt files provide metadata, or information about the project, while all other files are part of the data itself. Taguette can’t read nvpx or qdpx files, so the most important files to us will be the pdf interview transcripts.

Methodologies and Instruments

Maybe you noticed something interesting about the interview topics in the description when we first looked at the data on QDR. Let’s look again, either on the project page or by opening the README_Mannheimer.txt in a text editor.

In collections of data or other multi-file downloads, there is often a file named readme.txt or something similar. These are meant to provide an overview of the collection and how to go about using them.

Let’s zero in on the first paragraph under Data Description and Collection Overview:

The data in this study was collected using semi-structured interviews that centered around specific incidents of qualitative data archiving or reuse, big social research, or data curation. The participants for the interviews were therefore drawn from three categories: researchers who have used big social data, qualitative researchers who have published or reused qualitative data, and data curators who have worked with one or both types of data. Six key issues were identified in a literature review, and were then used to structure three interview guides for the semi-structured interviews. The six issues are context, data quality and trustworthiness, data comparability, informed consent, privacy and confidentiality, and intellectual property and data ownership.

This short paragraph packs a great deal of information about the interview topics and questions. Our topic of social media privacy may share a good deal with some of the issues the original interviews focused on. Let’s look a little deeper into what we can learn to help in our own study.

Reviewing study materials

Study materials from previous studies, like interview schedules or participant observation memos, provide a window into what might work for other related studies, including both what to ask and how to approach asking. Moreover, if the research dealt with a similar study population and the final product addressed topics of interest in your study as well, it also provides some evidence that a similar study design can be effective not just in theory but in practice.

Use the information in README_Mannheimer.txt to locate the 3 interview guides and use the readme and guides to answer the following questions:

  1. Which of the six issues the researchers identified seem most relevant to planning your study? Why?
  2. Is one of the original study populations more relevant to understanding shared issues with your study? Which one and why?
  3. Read through the questions in the interview guide for the most relevant population you identified above. Are there questions that might be adapted or borrowed for your own interviews about social media privacy decisions?

For now, we’re going to focus on the Big Social Research group, because the type of data they were interviewed about their work with is the most similar to what our participants may be sharing. You may have drawn a different conclusion, and likewise, each group might provide unique insights.

If we can adapt questions and anticipate concerns and challenges relevant to our data collection, we may be able to improve the quality of our study and interview design, without repeating all the background research from the previous study.

Raw Data

Interview schedules and study plans provide insight into the research team’s expectations and approaches. The power of raw data, such as interview transcripts, is that it shows (much more directly) how the study participants construct their own views of the study topics and respond to the questions. Context and constructivism are core concerns of most qualitative researchers, leading the raw data to be possibly the most critical aspect of data for faithful and effective reuse.

That said, while it’s possible to conduct entirely secondary studies if enough raw data are available in relevant context that address relevant topics, those conditions are rarely met. Rather, raw data tends to serve as a type of pilot study - providing initial evidence as to where to begin and what to ask while still allowing the new research team to explore aspects of the data that were less relevant or highlighted in the original study.

One of the most commonly-analyzed types of raw qualitative data is interview transcripts, like we have in our project. Some tools provides support for working directly with audio and video files, but Taguette only supports text documents. Text, however, is often preferred because it simplifies the process of removing potentially identifying information and enables rapid scanning of content and accessibility technology.

Let’s open one of the Big Social transcripts, Mannheimer_BSR01_Transcript.pdf, in your default pdf reader and look at how transcripts are structured in this project.

Upper portion of the first page of an interview transcript

PDF files appear as page images, but most modern PDFs allow you to select text and other elements. In this transcript, we see a few header elements:

  1. The document title
  2. A set of summary keywords identified by the original investigators as relevant to this interview
  3. A list of all speakers

After the speaker list, the transcript itself begins with each paragraph denoting a switch in speaker. The speaker’s identifier and a time stamp for the start of the conversation comprise the first line, followed by the transcribed text.

Reading even this first section in the image, we can get some insight into decisions the research team made and how they worked. From BSR01’s very first sentence, we see the researchers sent a list of interview questions in advance but with mixed results:

I haven’t looked at the questions you sent. Yeah, but this is an active project. So I don’t think I should have a problem with any of them.

The respondent may not have read all the questions but did identify a project that the rest of the interview will revolve around.

Critical incident technique

Framing a qualitative interview around one specific event or project is a technique known as a Critical Incident Interview and often elicits a wider variety of reflection than abstract questions alone.

Reading interviews

Read the following excerpt from BSR01s interview and consider the questions below:

Sara Mannheimer

All right on to privacy and confidentiality. Can you tell me about a time if any during your research process when you considered issues of privacy, protecting the data during your research or protecting the people on the platform.

BSR01 25:03

Yeah, so a good example of that would be my previous project where I was looking at biases in the language of peer review. I was looking at gender bias, what are the biases looking with gender bias. For that we had an external annotator annotate gender for the authors on the platform of these papers. And the protocol we followed was semi automatic. So we use the US Social Security data to infer genders with some confidence probability. For example, if there was a certain name, let’s say Jack, that was reported as male 99% of the time, we would tag it as male. And same thing if it was reported as female and 99% time we would tag it as female or non male rather. But if it was less confident, we had the human annotator, search for the name search for their Google profile and make a guess as to what this person’s gender is. So we were, so we were trying to mimic the reviewers perception of the author’s agenda. And because bias, the bias would be driven based on that perception, and not the self reported gender of the author. We did not release these gender annotations, because we didn’t, we thought it would cause issues if we mislabeled an author’s gender. And these authors are a part of the community that we publish. Yeah. So we opted to not release identities. And we actually at the end of the paper, we actually have an ethics statement where we talk about why we’re not doing that. But the data, the data itself is public.

Sara Mannheimer 27:08

And I guess sometimes with social media, there are like considerations of move it, like moving the data out, out of its context, in Reddit, you know, and you’re letting it be downloaded. I think in your situation, since all of the users were anonymous, that changes things a little.

BSR01 27:33

So they were anonymous in the sense that I couldn’t tie it to their real identity. But some people use this same username on all these online platforms. And that is that that is a concern. So let’s say there’s a user in my data who said something they regret, and they delete their post or their comment. It’s still going to be there in my data set.

Your study, again, is focused on the decisions individual social media users make about the privacy of their posts. This excerpt is primarily focused on how researchers protect (or fail to protect) the privacy of online users.

  1. What direct discussion, if any, is there of user privacy decision processes here?
  2. How might the example of name matching processes used by BRS01 inform how your team asks about privacy concerns with your study participants?

Key Points

  • Qualitative data can take many forms, but text or transcribed audio-visual data are among the most common
  • Reusing existing qualitative data can help plan studies more efficiently and effectively
  • Qualitative coding and data analysis tools are each compatible with different formats of data
  • The Qualitative Data Repository is a source for vetted qualitative and mixed methods data

Content from Setting up a Taguette Project

Last updated on 2024-07-11 | Edit this page



  • How are projects organized in Taguette?
  • What limitations are there on documents in Taguette?


  • Create a Taguette project and import documents
  • Apply consistent naming conventions to project documents

Once we have a general sense of the data we’ll be using and what format it needs to be in, the next step is generally to create a project in a qualitative software package and import the de-identified raw data.

Qualitative software is sometimes called CAQDAS, an acronym for Coding and Qualitative Data Analysis Software to recognize the two essential functions of qualitative research software:

  1. Apply codes or tags systematically to a collection of data sources
  2. Analyze codes (and sometimes raw data or secondary sources) to draw conclusions

CAQDAS have various features that may be useful for particular types of data or methodologies. This lesson includes an alternative software options page for those interested in learning about other CAQDAS.

Taguette is an open-source and cross-platform tool for basic coding and analysis of textual data. It is free and can be installed on your own computer or used online with Taguette cloud.

Starting Taguette

If you haven’t already installed Taguette, please follow the instructions in [Summary and Setup][../index.html] before proceeding.

When you first open Taguette, there may be a short delay and you may see a text window open (you can ignore this for now) then a new tab will open in your default browser that looks something like the image below.

Image of the launch screen for Taguette in a browser window

Creating a project

Work in Taguette is organized in projects, each of which contain their own sets of documents, tags, and highlights. Click Create a new project and give it a clear name like Social media privacy project planning. Descriptions are not required but can be invaluable in finding the right project and documenting sources. Because we’re re-using archival data, document the data source in the Description field.

Image of New project screen in Taguette for a project named Social media privacy project planning. The description includes a citation to the data at QDR.

Clicking Create takes us to the project page, where all our interactions with the project will take place from now on. The left pane contains tabs to view or edit Project info, import or navigate Documents, and create or view Highlights. The right pane will display documents and highlights.

Image of project page for a new project in Taguette with the Documents tab selected but no documents displayed

Importing and navigating documents

Documents can be imported one at a time with the Add a document button in the Documents tab of the left pane. The first document you may want to add is the interview guide.

Image of Add a document dialog in Taguette with a sample file selected

Once the document is imported, open it by clicking its title on the left.

Semi-structured interview guides often include both main questions like Did you publish any of the data from your example? and planned follow-up probes meant for when the participant doesn’t volunteer as much information as the interviewer is seeking. For the question above, there are three probes to learn more about data publication (about 2/3 of the way down the document):

  1. Is the data published in a repository? Which one?
  2. What are your plans for storing, retaining, and deleting data in the future?
  3. Who has access to the data?

Format limitations

Taguette can only import a limited number of the most common types of text documents, including .pdf, .docx, .txt, .odt, .md, and .html files. Images and most formatting will also be stripped when documents are imported.

Scrolling through the interview guide for example, it looks like outline levels and section headers were flattened and a Document Outline based on formatting in the original pdf was added.

Adding more documents

On your own, find and add each of the Big Social Research interview transcripts from the Mannheimer project. Make sure to use short, clear, consistently structured names to make it easy to navigate between documents. Also add the BSR Interview Guide as a reference, though we won’t add highlights because it only contains the questions.

This project already uses a sequence of numbers to distinguish respondents without using names. One simple naming convention is BSR_##, where number is the respondent number (i.e. BSR_01). Some interview numbers may be missing; the readme file states why: “Two participants declined to have their data shared.”

Documents cannot be created or edited in Taguette. Any changes, including the removal personally identifiable information from data that will be shared, must take place before they are added to the project.

Key Points

  • Taguette’s interface has two main sections, a left pane for navigating, and a right pane for viewing
  • Documents should be cleaned and anonymized, if needed, before adding to a Taguette project
  • Consistent document naming conventions make projects easier to navigate

Content from Best Practices for Qualitative Coding

Last updated on 2024-07-12 | Edit this page



  • What is the difference between inductive and deductive coding?
  • How can I set up and apply a flexible code tree in Taguette?
  • How can I create and view highlights in Taguette?


  • Distinguish between inductive and deductive approaches to coding
  • Develop deductive codes relevant to project objectives
  • Create and view highlights in Taguette

Beginning qualitative researchers often want to jump right into analyzing their data once documents are added to their project, but taking the time to develop a coding protocol first can save time while improving the transparency and quality of research.

The first step is typically to choose a coding philosophy, that is, to decide how and why code labels will be chosen and applied. Coding philosophies range along a spectrum from inductive to deductive approaches.

Deductive and Inductive Reasoning

Deductive reasoning begins from assumptions and hypotheses. It seeks to determine, using logic or data, whether the hypotheses can be shown to be false (or true).

Experimental methods in many disciples follow this pattern. First, a hypothesis or prediction about the effect of some CAUSE is developed based on past research and observation. An experiment is conducted to isolate that CAUSE from other potential causes, and conclusions are drawn based on the presence (or lack) of difference made by the difference.

A medicine trial is a classic example of a deductive approach. Scientists predict that a medicine will help people in a specific way (for example, by reducing the length of an infection). They recruit participants (patients with the infection) who are randomly assigned so that some receive the medicine and others receive a placebo with no medicine. If the length of the infection is statistically shorter in the patients who received the medicine, that is taken as evidence that the medicine likely produced the desired result.

Deductive reasoning relies on minimizing exposure to outside variables that might affect the outcome of interest, or otherwise statistically adjusting for potential confounding factors.

Inductive reasoning, by contrast, seeks to draw more naturalistic conclusions by making close observations while recognizing personal biases and limits to observation. Inductive qualitative research draws on patterns observed in data to make predictions, generalizations, or analogies about more general patterns. Put differently, deductive research is explanatory in nature, while inductive research is exploratory.

Inductive social research often draws on critical or constructivist perspectives that emphasize how individuals and groups describe their own experience.

Taken in a longer scope, science can only develop through the complementary use of induction and deduction, sometimes visualized as a circular cycle. Observation is used to develop hypotheses, which are tested deductively through more observation. If hypotheses are not fully confirmed, inductive reasoning is used to develop revised or alternative hypotheses.


Even though deductive and inductive reasoning are both part of nearly every study in some way, how qualitative data is coded depends on the general purpose of the study. Exploratory studies tend to adopt an inductive method, while explanatory studies use more deductive approaches to code development.

Inductive coding

In 1967, US sociologists Glaser and Strauss formalized (grounded theory)[], one method for conducting structured qualitative research without presupposing a hypothesis or theory. They recognized that how people experience the world (i.e., the economy) can be at least as important as traditional measures (i.e., personal income or gross domestic product).

In grounded theory and other inductive coding methods, qualitative data like interview transcripts are read carefully and initial codes are applied that match the language and interpretation proposed by study participants themselves as closely as possible.

Often, researchers label codes in this open coding phase by using their judgment and experience to discern underlying themes in the experiences expressed across interviews.

In our scenario, the goal of this analysis is to prepare for collecting and analyzing new data related to social media privacy and confidentiality. BSR_05 is with a PhD student studying political communication.

We can open BSR_05 in Taguette from the Documents tab. The text of the interview should appear on the right. In the body of the interview, speaker names and the time they started speaking in the recording appear on one line, followed by what they said. Sara Mannheimer is the interviewer and BSR05 replaces the name of the student for privacy protection.

Image of Taguette with document BSR_05 open to timestamp 03:49

Scrolling 3 minutes and 49 seconds into the interview, we learn this person was using a large dataset of Twitter posts from the #MeToo movement with some significant privacy risks, for example:

And a big part of our paper was we came up with a way of identifying which tweets were disclosures which were not, and we have to describe the method in the paper. And more or less, that’s a method to identify survivors of sexual violence in our in our data set.

Open coding

Tags (labelled codes) are applied to highlights (text excerpts). Select the two sentences above in Taguette and click “new highlight” then check “interesting” and “Save and Close.” The text should now be highlighted in yellow.

Creating open codes

Discuss as a class what kinds of labels you, as a social media privacy researcher, might apply to part or all of the excerpt above.

Open codes can range from very specific to more general, but theoretically fruitful codes are often somewhere in the middle - general enough to apply in multiple situations but specific enough those excerpts have something more in common.

There are multiple words or phrases that might capture some of this excerpt’s relevance for our research. Taguette allows applying multiple tags to one highlight. Doing so makes it easier to consider overlapping concepts, like “privacy” and “identity protection,” as well as other aspects of the context, such as “sexual violence” or “crime victimization”.

How much to highlight?

Taguette supports multiple tags per highlight but does not allow overlapping highlights, making decisions about how large of excerpts to use more important. Highlights generally should be only long enough to provide context and understand meaning. Some researchers always code full sentences or even paragraphs, while others make decisions case by case.

Let’s create some of the tags we defined in our discussion. Click on the highlight and create additional tags. Names should be short and clear. Adding descriptions can help clarify the difference between similar tags, especially if working collaboratively with others.

Image of Taguette New Tag dialog for tag named privacy with description sharing or protection of personal information, including both web (social media, etc) and research

The “Highlights” tab at the left allows us to see all the tags we’ve created and to how many highlights each has been applied. I created tags for both “privacy” and “identity protection” but later realized they overlap so much conceptually they don’t need to be separated.

To merge two tags click “Edit” next to the tag you want to remove and click “Merge.” Select the other tag in the “into” box, then “Merge tags.” After merging, any highlights tagged with one or both original tag will have the name of the “into” tag and the other will be removed.

Plan twice; click once

“Measure twice and cut once.” -English proverb meaning one should plan and prepare in a careful, thorough manner before taking action and act once precisely and properly.

Taguette has no undo or history functions. Merged or deleted tags cannot be retrieved. Even if you export a copy of a project before making changes, there is no import functionality to restore the project to its previous state within Taguette.

In vivo coding

An alternative approach to inductive coding, in vivo coding, tries to further reduce researcher bias effects by creating initial code labels only from the language used in the interviews themselves.

Let’s look at a passage slightly earlier in the paragraph we’ve been working with.

And we ended up using that data for a project on looking at how people disclosed early in the hashtag campaign, and how that may have produced stigma around kind of disclosing for other women to disclose experiencing sexual violence. So it was kind of a sensitive data set.

The person being interviewed used a number of words and phrases that may be relevant to data privacy protection in these sentences including disclosed, stigma, disclosing, disclose, experience, sexual violence, and sensitive data. Rather than categorizing themes at this stage, in vivo coding retains language used by the participants.

Let’s highlight “disclosed” and apply a new tag called “disclose” to it. The same tag can be applied to “disclosing” and “disclose;” although they are different words, they have the same root word and express the same idea.

Image of Taguette document view with the words disclosed, disclosing, and disclose highlighted with the tag disclose

Coding trees

*Our project now combines thematic and in vivo coding in one document with no easy way to separate the types. Coding trees can help clarify and sort code groups.

Like the plants, code trees have branches, which may be types of codes or broad themes. Leaves, or specific codes or subcategories, each “grow” from one larger branch.*

Edit each tag you have created (e.g., not “interesting”) and add either in vivo: or open: to create a code tree where codes are sorted by coding method.

After editing tags, your project will look something like this:

Image of Taguette showing highlights tab with tags including 'in vivo: disclose' and 'open: privacy'

Some other qualitative software also implements dynamic code trees that allow multiple levels of nesting and automate viewing all subcodes (leaves) of a single code (branch), but embedding branches in code names is the only option currently available in Taguette.

Once applied, in vivo codes can be analyzed individually or later aggregated during the axial coding process, introduced in a later section.

Deductive coding

Deductive codes are applied much the same way as open codes, but development takes place earlier, ideally before data collection, because tags and themes reflect theories and hypotheses the study is designed to test.

Code deductively

Our research team has adapted 3 key themes from Sarikakis and Winter’s 2017 review of social media user’s consciousness of data privacy:

  1. Autonomy: users desire control over when and to whom their data is disclosed
  2. Compromise: users recognize privacy’s importance but also circumvent protections when seeking information
  3. Stake: concern derives from being personally affected by privacy or sharing

Create the 3 themes above as tags, prefixed by deductive:, and add descriptions based on the background given above.

In BSR_02, read and highlight the text block quoted below (from the section starting at 1:44).

I’ve done some work on on Twitter on how like social people who are users of Twitter, I’ve done, did a project on on people who have been harassed on Twitter and the subject of kind of coordinated harassment campaigns, and how kind of their experiences.

In groups of 2-3 people, discuss whether each theme is relevant and why, then apply relevant tags to the highlight.

Don’t focus on finding key words or synonyms in deciding whether to apply a code. Look for sections that suggest a relationship to themes of interest.

Autonomy might apply depending on whether the harassment people experienced on Twitter included doxxing or otherwise involved personal information. Without access to the original interviewee, it’s probably not reliable enough to use in drawing conclusions.

Compromise does not seem relevant here, as the presence of online harassment suggests the advantage of stricter protections, if anything.

Stake clearly applies. The Twitter users are described as experiencing coordinated harassment campaigns on Twitter, meaning not only is the platform used to harass, but to encourage others to do the same.

Like inductive and deductive reasoning, the separation between inductive and deductive coding is rarely complete. As a researcher, how closely you adhere to a single reasoning or coding model will likely depend on personal research questions and values, as well as norms in the fields where the research will be shared.

Axial coding

Most qualitative projects require more than one round of coding for a few reasons:

  1. The first documents rarely highlight every relevant theme. Themes and language important in later interviews may still be reflected in early interviews but less obvious before the theme was brought to the researcher’s attention. Revisiting early interviews supports consistent code application.
  2. Multiple coders may use tags in slightly different ways, which eventually need to be adjusted to a consistent scheme.
  3. Key relationships between codes may only become obvious once initial codes are considered, leading to consolidation or the development of new tags as researchers become more familiar with the documents and themes.
  4. When coding in vivo, people may use language differently and multiple phrases may represent a single idea.

Axial coding primarily addresses numbers 3 and 4, as it is involves relating or further breaking down primary themes or codes.

For example, the passage in BSR_05 coded to in vivo: disclosure concerned self-disclosure of personal information during the #MeToo movement with the hope of reducing stigma and producing a positive outcome. But Twitter users in BSR_02 may have been subject to disclosure of personal information without consent. Axial coding might involve distinguishing disclosure based on whether it was voluntary or self-directed.

Axial coding takes many other forms, depending on the research topic and methods. Deductive research may revise and further specify existing theory based on new data in their study. In vivo codes or open codes that seemed distinct may turn out to be conceptually indistinguishable. Participants may be provided summaries of initial findings and asked if they reflect their personal experience. In all cases, axial coding is a tool to clarify analysis and theory.

Qualitative studies typically have one or more rounds of initial coding, followed by any amount of axial coding necessary to represent key concepts intelligibly to both researchers and study participants.

Key Points

  • Qualitative code protocols are developed based on research goals and philosophies
  • Inductive research focuses on discovering or exploring themes and often uses open or in vivo coding
  • Deductive research focuses on testing hypotheses and typically applies a predefined coding scheme based on theory
  • In Taguette, tags are labelled codes applied to highlighted excerpts of text

Content from Qualitative Data Analysis

Last updated on 2024-06-21 | Edit this page



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Key Points


Content from Saving and Sharing Qualitative Data

Last updated on 2024-06-21 | Edit this page



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Key Points