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The Culture Hack Curriculum

Collecting and coding your data

Step 1 – Prepare for coding

Coding data is simply looking for themes within the data you collected. Once you identify, collect and organize your data, it is necessary to code it before doing further analysis. The coding process allows you to make your data meaningful in relation to your POV and therefore is always an interpretive process. Code is a word or short phrase that labels your data based on the patterns or themes you find.

There are two types of coding, one is an approach that assigns the codes to the data before retrieving it (deductive). The other type is creating codes once the data is collected and the patterns start to emerge (inductive).  All data can be coded, however, it would be an endless and impractical task to try to code absolutely everything. Therefore, after reviewing all the data and annotations you have made at the time of collection, you can begin to identify themes that emerge. How it is really important that you know what it is you are looking for hence it is highly recommended that you keep a copy of your Point of View, concerns on the narrative research and goals of the intervention to guide your coding decisions. 

Given your point of view and the listening activities you have outlined, what are the key questions you want to ask the data?




Step 2 – Put together your listening model

Now that we have reviewed what data is important for our intervention, outlined what narratives we want to find and how to code our data, we can put together a listening model that will be our complete guide for data collection, coding and analysis. The listening model should follow the structure outlined should cover the following main aspects:

  • Point of View
  • Small Listening activities
  • Big Listening activities
  • Coding: What are we searching for (hypothesis) & Questions for the data

Step 3 – Collect your data!

See the resources section below for a list of tools you can use for your small or big listening.

Step 4 – Coding

Now that you have collected your data, you can code it given the key questions you have articulated previously. Write a short description of what your data is telling you. For this exercise, we will use data from a poll about ‘climate change’ as an example. This coding sometimes is about copy-pasting, but sometimes will require you to interpret the answers.

Coding Nodes – Write down the names of other people or organizations that were mentioned in your data. 

Example: “The UN, Scientists, Greta Thumberg and the youth movement always talk about climate change”

  • Nodes: Greta Thumberg, UN

Coding Communities – Write down narrative spaces that were mentioned in your data. 

 Example: “The UN, Scientists, Greta Thumberg and the youth movement always talk about climate change”

  • Communities: Scientists, Youth Movement for Climate Justice

Coding Keywords – Think of 3 ‘labels’ or ‘keywords’ that capture the data. These can be part of the answer or your own interpretation of it.

 Example: “Yes, climate change affects us all and our future on this planet. I have been in several climate strikes and am planning to organize with my friends at school.”

  • Keywords: Future, Planet, Activist, Youth

Step 5 – Questioning your data

Write down three questions that you want to answer with the data set you just created, some of them can be qualitative and some of them could be quantitative. These questions should be aligned to your point of view.

Example Questions:

  • From my data, what would be the profile of people interested in my narrative?
  • Was there any Node or Community mentioned several times that I didn’t know about?
  • Was the overall poll useful and what can I learn to make it better next time?