Working with a research team improves the quality of your coding exponentially because the themes that emerge don’t come from just one person—they are the amalgamation of several peoples’ perspectives. No two designers will see exactly the same things when coding data. One person may pick up on details like a participant’s clothing choices and mannerisms while another will notice participants’ word choices and accents.

Follow this procedure when coding data for a group project:

  1. Each interview is transcribed and all images/video/media are collected.
  2. Each team member receives a copy of all transcribed interviews and all images collected.
  3. Each team member independently codes every interview and all images/media.
  4. Each team member independently develops their own set of codes in a codebook.
  5. Each team member independently develops their own themes.
  6. Team members come together to compare their codes and themes and discuss which themes were most potent.

This process sounds complicated, but it produces far more accurate results than produced by one person working alone. Here’s a walkthrough I hope will make this process and its benefits understandable.

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Dennis Cheatham

Associate Professor, Communication Design

Miami University

Updated: February 18, 2024 7:40 am
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