Qualitative researchers approach data collection with an appreciation of the data sources (the participants, documents, etc.) as the key to understanding the phenomenon of interest. The same is true for data analysis. The researcher chooses an approach or approaches in order to systematically move through the words and images to identify codes, categories and themes that will reflect the sources’ experience.
• A code is a word or short phrase that assigns an attribute, idea, or quality to a portion of text or visual data.
• A category is a collection of these codes that share attributes, meaning, and/or intent. It is also labeled with a word or short phrase.
• A theme is developed from one or more categories and can represent a “manifest” (directly observable) or “latent” (underlying) aspect of the phenomenon.
For this Discussion, you will examine coding, categories, and themes in your qualitative data you previously collected.