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Sample Essay

Descriptive coding is where general themes or categories emerge within each data set.  Strauss and Corbin (1990) recommended that researcher start this stage of the coding process by “breaking down, examining, comparing, conceptualizing, and categorizing data” (p. 61), often, in terms of materials and measurements.  I would then gather data and to produce codes “line by line” (irksome but most productive, and therefore, often advocated in the beginning stages of inquiring into thoroughly and systematically analyzing the communication process). Data gathered will be examined per word, followed by a phrase, then each sentence, and then the entire paragraph. The functional relation was emphasized between parts and the whole of entire communicative documents.

Initial coding moves to the descriptive where more interpretation takes place. The follow-up codes are pattern coding and is even more inferential and explanatory. Coding will change for all approaches. With manual coding, revision is tedious because every chunk that I would have initially coded would have to be relabeled. “Whether codes are prespecified or developed along the way, clear operational definitions are indispensable, so they can be applied consistently by a single researcher over time…” (Miles & Huberman, 1994, p.63). Miles and Huberman (1994) also suggest check-coding as it helps with consensus with definitions and is a good reliability check.”Check-coding the same transcript is very useful for the lone researcher” (p.65).

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