RES-866 Qualitative Analysis Assignment Directions

RES-866 Qualitative Analysis Assignment Directions

In this two-part assignment, you will analyze interview (four) interview transcripts by inductively coding the data and developing themes. This will mimic the process and feeling of coding a large study, though on a much smaller scale. Read the following key points before completing both parts of this assignment.

  • Coding is a step in a thematic analysis approach to data. Different qualitative designs may require different coding procedures. For example, coding in a case study may not be the same as in phenomenological or narrative designs.
  • Coding is conducted based on identifying similar topics that recur in the document regardless of frequency of occurrence. Keep focus on the meaningof statements, not on their frequency.
  • For the purposes of this two-part assignment, you will use Braun and Clarke’s six-step process: familiarization with the data, generating initial codes, searching for themes, reviewing themes, defining and naming themes, and producing the report. 
  • Coding generally follows this progression: codes>categories>themes. Codes are the smallest unit of meaning and are then subsumed into mid-level categories, which are then subsumed into themes, which are phrases or sentences that directly answer the research questions. For the purposes of Braun and Clarke’s six-steps, categories are established in Step 3: Search for themes. All six steps are outlined in the data analysis section below.

Components of Sample Study

Become familiar with the study components, namely the title, problem, purpose and research questions as noted below:

Title: Perceived Resilience and Online Doctoral Success: A Case Study

Problem Statement: It was not known how nontraditional doctoral graduates perceive resilience as having contributed to their successful online doctoral degree completion.

Purpose Statement: The purpose of this qualitative single-case study was to explore how nontraditional doctoral graduates perceive resilience as having contributed to their online doctoral degree completion.

Research Questions:

Overarching RQ: How do nontraditional, online, doctoral graduates perceive resilience contributed to their successful doctoral degree completion?

R1: What is the level of resilience of the doctoral graduates who completed the doctoral program? 

R2: How do doctoral graduates perceive that the resilience factor of social support contributed to their online doctoral success?

R3: How do doctoral graduates perceive that the resilience factor of optimism contributed to their online doctoral success?

R4: How do doctoral graduates perceive that the resilience factor of adaptive coping contributed to their online doctoral success?

R5: How do doctoral graduates perceive that the resilience factor of adaptive health behaviors contributed to their online doctoral success? 

R6: What other resilience-related factors do doctoral graduates perceive that influenced their online doctoral success?

Assignment Directions

Topic 2: Qualitative Analysis Part 1

  • Hand code the data: To analyze the data, you must first identify codes and themes that appear in the data. To accomplish this, you will use Braun and Clarke’s six-step process (See Appendix A).
    • Task 1: Code the transcript as described above, and color code the transcript using a color for each code. Do this in Word. Keep in mind that codes may repeat.
    • Task 2: Create a codebook. As a guideline, you should have 20 or 30 codes from these four transcripts.

Table 1.


CodeDescription of the CodeExample from Transcript

Topic 4: Qualitative Analysis Part 2

  • Task 3: Based on your hand coding, group the codes together into categories based on similarities. As a guideline, you should probably have 10 or so mid-level categories. Display as shown in Table 2.

Table 2

Codes to Categories

CategoryCategory MeaningAligned Codes
  • Task 4: Group the categories or preliminary themes into final themes. You may only have 2-3 themes from this short set of data. Display in a phrase or sentence as shown in Table 3.

Table 3.

Categories to Themes

ThemeTheme MeaningAligned CategoriesExemplary Quote
  • Use MAXQDA to analyze one transcript.
  • Task 5:  Download and read the MAXQDA Getting Started Guide.
  • Use the instructions on pages 1-8 to import the transcript documents into the software. You can also watch a Getting Started Video Tutorial at
  • Do the following:
    • Import at least one transcript into MAXQDA.
    • Activate all documents.
    • Use the coding feature to practice assigning codes to the quotes in the transcripts.
    • Export the coding system and coded segments for one code in Excel.
    • Double click on one code to activate and export the coded segments as an Excel table.
  • Create the final write-up
    • Task 6: Compile and Write-up Your Findings
      • Write a summary of the final themes that you identified when hand coding your transcripts. Include the code book and the tables you created to show the data graphically/visually.
      • For each theme you identified, write a paragraph or two that clearly describes the theme and its nature. Summarize the findings in your own words but be sure to weave in evidence from quotes to illustrate your points.
      • Include the output from your MAXQDA queries (coding system, coded segments from one code).
      • Include the code book and the tables you created to show the data graphically/visually.  
      • Discuss your experience with hand coding and use of MAXQDA.
      • Discuss the benefits and limitations of using MAXQDA.
      • How does the software complement the hand coding you did in this assignment?


Clark, V. & Braun, V. (2013). Teaching thematic analysis. Psychologist, 26(2), 120-123.

Bernard, H. R. and Ryan, G. W. (2010). Analyzing qualitative data. New York, NY: Sage Publications.

Grand Canyon University. (2013). Template for coding and summary tables.

Yin, R. (2014). Case study research design and methods. New York, NY: Sage Publications.

Appendix A – Braun and Clarke’s Six-Step Process

Step 1: Familiarization with data: Read each transcript several times and identify statements that strike you as important. Mark the statements in some fashion (highlight, circle, bold, underline). When you recognize chunks of text (words, phrases, and sentences) that appear frequently, or that seem relevant or significant, make note of them. That is, circle or highlight them in the text.

Step 2: Generate initial codes. After reading all transcripts several times, review the statements you marked or wrote down and identify a list of useful codes. Create a code book that lists your codes, definitions and examples from the transcripts. Display as shown in Table 1.

Step 3: Search for themes. From Step 2, look over your code book and condense these codes into a reduced number of mid-level categories (potential themes) based on similarity and name them. Develop a table that shows the mid-level categories, aligned codes and an exemplary quote from two interviews. Display as shown in Table 2.

Step 4: Reviewing themes. Group mid-level categories developed in Step 3 into themes based on similarities. Themes should be complete thoughts, phrases, or complete sentences that directly answer the RQs. Display as shown in Table 3 below.

Step 5: Defining and naming themes. In this step, you will begin to create a narrative of the data. Check themes against that narrative to see if they fit. Go back through the transcripts to look for other information that may not fit themes. Review themes to make sure you can articulate what they are about. Finally, check the research questions and see if the themes you developed directly answer the research questions. Display as shown in Table 4 below.

Step 6: Producing the report. Compile and Write-up Your Findings. Write-up a thematic narrative of findings.

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