Preparing the Transcript for Coding

       The first formal analytic pass through your memos, field notes, and transcripts takes place during Level 1 coding. The process starts with raw unformatted text and ends with a well-organized code document that includes a Table of Contents, a Table of Codes, an Index, Level 1 code descriptions, and highlighted original text data that corresponds with each Level 1 code.

       It does not matter what text editor or word processor was used to create the transcript, but what does matter is that a new paragraph was created every time the conversation shifted from one person to another. If your transcripts do not have paragraph breaks every time a different person starts speaking, it is a good idea to take time to edit the transcript. It should go fast, simply press Enter after each section of text that represents a shift from one speaker to the next.

       After the transcription is complete, the investment of the time required to create a well-formatted code document is significant, but it is time well spent. The code document created in Word during the Level 1 coding process will greatly accelerate later stages of analysis and writing.

    The creation of the code document requires several steps:

    ¤ Saving the transcript text to a code document file in Word
    ¤ Converting the entire transcript to a three-column table; all paragraphs become individual rows
    ¤ Carefully reading through the transcribed data to identify, create, and mark your Level 1 codes
    ¤ Marking and preserving the verbatim data that inspired the individual Level 1 codes
    ¤ Creating a Table of Contents for the Code document
    ¤ Creating a Table of Codes for the Code document
    ¤ Creating an Index for the code document.

       After the code document and Level 1 coding is completed, Access or Excel can be used for subsequent levels of coding. Both tools allow researchers to complete advanced levels of coding in an efficient manner. Advanced coding may be completed directly in the code document if the amount of data is small.

Copyright, Christopher Hahn, 2008

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