Meeting with my promotors

Last Tuesday I had a pleasant, fruitful and inspiring meeting with my promotors at Wageningen University & Research. We discussed my proposal for the qualitative content analysis part of my research. Qualitative Data Analysis is a rigorous methodology for interpreting qualitative data in a very disciplined way. In my case the database is the sample of anonymized trail-reports.

Qualitative research is often centered around the why and the how question, not just what, where, when. Since trail-reports are written immediately after the experience on the basis of their memory and personal field notes in their moliskine journal, they are reproductions of first person, subjective experiences. By consequence, these reproductions are hardly objective measurable and suitable for quantitative research. Therefor I choose the process of qualitative coding.To codify is to arrange things in a systematic order, to make something part of a system or classification, to categorize. When codes are applied and reapplied to qualitative data, I am codifying – a process that permits data to be “segregated, grouped, regrouped and relinked in order to consolidate meaning and explanation” (Grbich, 2007, p.21, cited in Saldana, 2012). Coding is thus a method that enables me to organize and group similarly coded data into categories or “families” because they share some characteristics – the beginning of a pattern. By classification reasoning plus using tacit and intuitive senses it will be determined which data “look alike” and “feel alike” when grouping the together (Lincoln, Guba, 1985, p.347, cited in Saldana, 2012).

The basic process of codifying, which I propose to apply, follows the streamlined codes-to-theory model: code – category – themes/concepts – assertions/theory. Whereas the data in this research is already structured by the guiding questions one could argue to pre-determine the themes along these questions: intentions, experiences, insights, actions. Therefor, in discussion withe my promotors, I decided to split the content analysis into two parts. One analysis is about the questions:Why do people participate and what are the participant's experiences? The other analysis is going into:What do participants perceive as consequences in their thinking/mindset and in their behavioral intentions? This shoukd lead to two articles to be published in 2013 in a relevant scientific journal.

Boy van Droffelaar 2012