I’ve just finished my my second bout of data coding (I won’t call it a “round” because it’s a different set of data), and I’m in the process of grouping and collapsing the categories of codes into a smaller, more manageable number. I’m using a process called inductive content analysis, as described by Elo & Kyngäs (see reference, below). This method involves “open coding, creating categories and abstraction” (p. 109) and grouping codes “to reduce the number of categories by collapsing those that are similar or dissimilar into broader higher order categories” (p. 111). For the second time, I am struck by the similarity of this process to the categorization and naming activity that constitutes part of information architecture, an important component of the user experience profession.
I’m not sure what to do with this insight beyond applying it to my own work, although I like to think that an article might come from it. I am, however, grateful because it helps me apply my professional, practitioner experience to my academic work.
Elo, S. and Kyngäs, H. (2008). The qualitative content analysis process. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 62, 1, pp. 107–115. [Available from the Wiley Online Library.]