Debunking Myths in Qualitative Data Analysis

Sharon A. Bong


In deciding on CAQDAS use in my research, I deliberate firstly the primacy of grounded theory as a methodology and secondly the primacy of coding as a method. In the first section of this paper, I weigh the extent to which my research draws and departs from the principles and practices of grounded theory (GT). In examining the impact of cultures and religions on women's human rights in Malaysia I have used for example hypothesis-guided criteria for sampling. This is strictly speaking not in the original sense a grounded theory approach. In the paper, I make transparent the extent to which GT has informed my work in enhancing the qualitative research and in highlighting the uses and limits of grounded theory, I pose the question to what extent have I de-mystified its paradigmatic status in CAQDAS and its homogenising effects. In the second section, I discuss the dominance of coding in qualitative data analysis and I argue that the pitfall of reifying coding as analyses can be avoided through a researcher's reflexivity and agency (self-determination) combined with a pragmatic view and the use of codes as a means and not as an end. I discuss whether CAQDAS use essentially facilitates the rigour of methodology and the transparency of method as for example manifested in one's audit trail, and whether this in turn constitute research that is more accountable, innovative and effective.
URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0202107


CAQDAS; qualitative research; in-depth interviewing; sampling; Grounded Theory; coding

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Copyright (c) 2002 Sharon A. Bong

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