Ensuring Rigor in Qualitative Data Analysis: A Design Research Approach to Coding Combining NVivo With Traditional Material Methods
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Journal: International Journal of Qualitative Methods
© The Author(s) 2018. Deep and insightful interactions with the data are a prerequisite for qualitative data interpretation, in particular, in the generation of grounded theory. The researcher must also employ imaginative insight as they attempt to make sense of the data and generate understanding and theory. Design research is also dependent upon the researchers’ creative interpretation of the data. To support the research process, designers surround themselves with data, both as a source of empirical information and inspiration to trigger imaginative insights. Constant interaction with the data is integral to design research methodology. This article explores a design researchers approach to qualitative data analysis, in particular, the use of traditional tools such as colored pens, paper, and sticky notes with the CAQDAS software, NVivo for analysis, and the associated implications for rigor. A design researchers’ approach which is grounded in a practice which maximizes researcher data interaction in a variety of learning modalities ensures the analysis process is rigorous and productive. Reflection on the authors’ research analysis process, combined with consultation with the literature, would suggest digital analysis software packages such as NVivo do not fully scaffold the analysis process. They do, however, provide excellent data management and retrieval facilities that support analysis and write-up. This research finds that coding using traditional tools such as colored pens, paper, and sticky notes supporting data analysis combined with digital software packages such as NVivo supporting data management offer a valid and tested analysis method for grounded theory generation. Insights developed from exploring a design researchers approach may benefit researchers from other disciplines engaged in qualitative analysis.