Monday, December 7, 2009

Data Coding Stuckness (An Email)

Excerpt from an email I sent to a classic GT methodology expert:

"I decided to code the fieldnotes from [some participants]. I did line-by-line (or idea-by-idea) coding. I've generated 200 codes and then started to categorize them. As I am categorizing, I am finding myself not knowing where I am headed. To solve the problem, I went back to your article on __________, which was helpful to re-read. Then realized I needed to re-read theoretical codes, and did that using Glaser 1978, 1998, 2005. Last night, I printed out all of my codes over 6 pieces of paper, and looked over them. I feel completely inundated! And I realized that I've only coded less than half of my fieldnotes from interviews! But once again, I find myself not knowing where I am headed! So, I was stuck, and I went to the literature, but now that I am back to my data again, I am stuck again.

I have to keep working today (while it is night-time for you in _______ ). While I await possible input from you, I will be asking myself Barney's (2004) questions for theoretical sensitivity ("what is the main concern" etc.) and just going back into the woodwork and relook at my data, code by code. It's exhausting to do this with so much time in-between. Each time I come back to the data with a week or so of lapse, it feels like I'm starting all over again."

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