From Deduction to Abduction: Constructing a Coding Frame for Communist Secret Police Documents

Dominik Želinský


In this shop floor report I explore the process of constructing and reconstructing a coding frame for qualitative content analysis. Drawing on my research experience with the archives of the communist secret police, I highlight the advantages of employing controlled abductive reasoning in the process of coding frame construction and reconstruction. As I argue in the report, using abductive reasoning may help researchers to explore their data more fully, thus also facilitating a richer understanding of historical reality in social research. Importantly, with abductive reasoning theoretical innovation is also possible, because of the process of "defamiliarization" with data, and experimentation with various epistemological lenses to develop a new understanding of the phenomena in question.


qualitative content analysis; deduction; abduction; historical sociology; communism; secret police

Full Text:



Copyright (c) 2019 Dominik Zelinsky

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.