Gibbs, Graham R. (2007) Creative ways to use codes. In: CAQDAS 07 Conference : Advances in Qualitative Software, 18-20 April 2007, Royal Holloway, University of London. (Unpublished)

The key idea behind this workshop is the recognition that although CAQDAS programs support the coding of data, the way researchers use this function does not have to be restricted to the coding activities used when doing analysis by hand. The coding function in software is just the association or linking of a name (the code’s name) with one or more chunks of text. How this is done, how often it is done, how much text is used and, most importantly, how long it is kept for, are not limited by the software. On the other hand, nor are they limited by the need to keep the data organised, manageable and focussed on key thematic ideas – which are important issues when doing analysis by hand. Thus it is possible in software to create and code with a very large number of codes that would be chaotic and unmanageable if doing the analysis by hand. This is not always good practice but it can be a way to support creative thinking in the project. It is also possible to delete and combine codes easily – something that researchers are loath to do when working by hand. And it is easy to change the size of the chunks of text that are coded, which means it is possible to use coding in a temporary way in a project, with the idea that coded text may be refined at a later stage (or even deleted).

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