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

  • Dominik Želinský University of Edinburgh
Keywords: qualitative content analysis, deduction, abduction, historical sociology, communism, secret police


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.


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Author Biography

Dominik Želinský, University of Edinburgh

Dominik ŽELINSKÝ is a doctoral student at the Department of Sociology at the University of Edinburgh, where he is writing a dissertation on the problem of unofficial seminars in communist Czechoslovakia between 1969 and 1989. His research interests lie in the field of social and cultural theory, and cultural history of Central East Europe. In 2018, he was a visiting researcher at Yale University's Center for Cultural Sociology.

How to Cite
Želinský, D. (2019). From Deduction to Abduction: Constructing a Coding Frame for Communist Secret Police Documents. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 20(3).
Challenges and Developments in Applying Qualitative Content Analysis