It’s a horrible but inescapable fact that it takes more
time to organise, write and present material well than
it does to gather it . . . The sensible researcher will
allow as much free time to write his [sic] report as he
spent in the field. If he is really astute and can get
away with it, he will allow more time. (Wax 1983,
193–4; in Cook and Crang 2007, 131)
I'm writing up a study at the moment and reflecting on the coding process. After wrestling with the data for a few years Im flabbergasted that its only really when Im writing it up that I have come to fully understand it....Ive looked carefully at every bloody leaf and branch, at every tiny free code as it becomes part of a larger set of thematic relationship, Ive even developed a lovely theory, cross checked it with participants but only now as I have nearly finished writing it did i finally get it.
Coding is a combination of paying close attention to every detail and simultaneously keeping your eye on the big picture...hopefully something bigger emerges than the data..call it 'higher order' themes....some that transcends the data and leads eventually to a creative product rather than just a research report.
Here's an interesting paper relating to this
Coding then, if you are informed by Grounded Theory can go through the following steps:
1. Immerse yourself in the data by reading thru the transcript many times
2. Free code loosely, not every word but proper chunks of meaning
3. As interviews progress you'll start to commit to codes
4. The hierarchy of codes will start to emerge, ie, which are leaves, which are branches
5. You can then look for differences between participants
6. Complex relationships may then emerge between codes and between codes and attributes of participants
7. Your model emerges and you can fill gaps in through selective sampling of new participants
8. You could then augment your analysis through theoretical triangulation: ie..try and use a variety of theories
9. You can also use investigator triangulation and have a group of people help you code, preferably from other disciplines or orientations.
10. Then go for a walk, a run, have a bath, go clubbing, get drunk, go out for dinner, ride your bike and if your lucky all the higher order themes might emerge