Coding for Knowledge

Emic coding helps to discover new knowledge in the qualitative research process. When you do emic coding, your job is to literally see what pops up in the discourse. You code everything, then look for patterns to see what is happening. It is expected that there is no previously decided questions to answer or agenda. As the coder, you go in with a blank slate so that you can keep your eyes open to all possibilities. Then, you have others do the same. Collaboration can lead to defining new knowledge as well as vet it.


However, with technology as a conduit for discourse, you need to keep in mind that this “phenomena” may  not be as authentic behavior as would be experience in a face to face setting. With technology as an affordance, there is more time for participants to respond with more thought out answers. Their behavior can be more covert and hidden. Social media and forums also provide an environment where a participant can create a persona that they project rather than projecting their true selves. This is a problem if we are seeking true and authentic experiences. So, the knowledge we collect could easily be unreliable if the participants are not sharing a their real experience. Therefore , we should always consider the role of technology in the communication being evaluated. We should anticipate what technology prevents from happening as well as what technology helps to create in discourse.


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