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Patrick Rössler


The term “coding” has different meanings in empirical research. Generally speaking, coding becomes relevant whenever data at hand are unstructured, and coding then provides a structure for a systematic analysis of these data. In quantitative research using standardized instruments, coding is the process of tagging data about a given unit of analysis, in order to assign these units to a category (→  Quantitative Methodology ). Usually, these categories correspond to numbers that allow the information to be processed by statistical software. Coding gains particular importance in quantitative content analysis, where it represents the main task of researchers. Likewise, the term is used in qualitative research to describe how data gathered with nonstandardized methods is broken down into components relevant to the research question under study ( Bryman 2004 , 537; →  Qualitative Methodology ). Within statistical data analysis, the term “recoding” is technically used for the procedure of regrouping the categories of a variable; this meaning of the term is not elaborated on in greater detail here.   For the purposes of computerized data analysis, researchers need empirical information to be tagged with numeric codes. This is true whenever processing is based on structured data collection commonly labeled as “quantitative.” The coding of items can be carried out either by the data source ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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