Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Sometimes Coding Process is as Important as Content

We had a very interesting collaborative coding session today in our regular coding party for QRIP, reading a transcript about how men respond to penile rehab after prostate cancer surgery.

For the first time it really dawned on me fully why line-by-line analysis can be so important...even though we weren't there at the interview a careful analysis revealed a great deal..so careful, in fact that we we spent 1 hr 30mins looking at about 15 lines of text...

What we saw was very interesting.....we were not only able to see the content (that the participant had a good sex life before surgery) but the process...that his short distancing statements about his sex life suggested he was finding the questions difficult and that they could have been causing him distress because of his losses.......only a very careful line-by-line analysis would have allowed this..we noticed, for example, that the word "it" was used instead of sex, that he referred to "males" in a general sense rather than himself when talking about the effect of the surgery on his sex life....it raised many hypotheses that would not have been possible by rushed analysis, or maybe even slow analysis done by only one person...

Like therapy it seems important to pay attention to the way words are used not just their content...the process can be as important to understand and code as that content.....it would also seem that focusing on these dynamics are critical when actually interviewing.....the way language is used can guide you about the sensitive decision-making required..do I probe more here? Is it too much for the interviewee? Shall I ask for permission to continue down this track? Is it me that's more scared of emotions than the interviewee? Are they responding to my anxiety rather than their own?

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