Global Inequalities 2019 In-class assessment: Understanding qualitative data
In this assessment we will perform a discourse analysis on a report concerning homelessness in the UK, using the techniques of coding. The aim is to answer the research question:
How does this report construct homelessness?
In order to answer this question, you may wish to consider one or more of the following sub-questions:
- The agency of the homeless: does the discourse frame the homeless as passive victims, administrative problems, or agents in their own right?
- What are the causes of homelessness in the UK?
- To what extent does this report either reinforce or challenge dominant ideologies of homelessness?
- Select one of the reports
- Download the word.doc version (MyBeckett: Weekly Topics/Week 7)
- Start a new word document and head it with your name, student number and “Qualitative Coding Exercise”, followed by the organisation and title of the report you have chosen (e.g. Shelter, Far From Alone).
- Start a second word document entitled Memos – use this to record your research decisions.
Step 1: Open Coding: Read through the text selection and identify an initial list of codes. This should be organised around the broad themes within the text. You may wish to highlight passages in different colours, corresponding to the codes you’ve identified.
TIP: code at the level of sentences/paragraphs. Don’t carve the text up into individual words. Remember, you’re looking for what the discourse does more than what it says: read between the lines!
Step 2: Axial coding: Group your codes together – e.g. ones that conceptually fit together, or can be organised in to headings and subheadings.
Step 3: Selective Coding: Construct an argument and organise your coded material in a way that contributes to that argument/interpretation of the text. Delete codes that are unnecessary or unrelated, but pay attention to codes that conflict with your argument.
Step 4: Copy your final list of codes into the submission document.
Step 5: Write a short (max 500 words) report on your findings, in answer to the research question.
Step 6: Write a short (max 300 words) reflection on the process. How is discourse analysis different to ordinary reading? How useful do think this methodology is? What difficulties did you encounter?
Step 7: Submit your word document via Turnitin.