10 Pro Tips for Qualitative Coding in Masters Dissertation

Masters Dissertation

Qualitative research at the masters dissertation level is the most widely used method to perform research using non-numerical data. The main aim of the research is to explore various and complex aspects of social phenomenon. There are many steps involved in qualitative research. Each step has its worth and command over qualitative research data. One of the essential steps of qualitative research is using qualitative coding for a master’s dissertation service. In this article, I will explore all the basic things related to qualitative coding, its importance at the master’s level and ten professional tips for writing it effectively.

What is Qualitative Coding?

Qualitative coding is the process of analysing qualitative data. The processing is done by assigning labels and codes to specific data sets. These labels and codes can help categorise a large amount of non-numerical data. Coding is done to ease the analysis of a large data set. So, for the non-numerical data, it is better to analyse it by qualitative coding.

Importance of Qualitative Coding in Masters Dissertation

At the master’s level, it is very difficult to perform analysis when you have lots of data available. It is best to use a technique that can help easily interpret the real data. Qualitative coding is an essential step that improves real data analysis. Qualitative coding makes data analysis reliable in the following ways;

  • Qualitative coding helps in checking patterns and themes in real data.
  • Qualitative coding makes categories and groups according to the relative parameters.
  • Qualitative coding helps in finding relationships between non-numerical data.
  • Qualitative coding facilitates in interpretation and analysis of large amounts of non-numerical data.

Example of Qualitative Coding:

Everything can make it look easy when you understand it with the help of examples. Here is an example that can help better understand the complex coding phenomenon for qualitative data.

Suppose we want to explore experiences related to cancer patients that survive. Now we want to code the whole study parameters. For the research study, we have to find different stages of the recovery phase.

We will explore all the stages that are involved in the whole recovery process like

  • Diagnosis (First, the patient is diagnosed with cancer)

Then the second step is the

  • Treatment of the cancer
  • After the treatment, the patient is recovered following the protocol.

During the study, we will explore patients’ experiences related to diagnosis, treatment and recovery.

Similarly, the experiences are also related to the emotions of the patient, like there are feelings of

  • Fear
  • Hope
  • Gratitude

All these emotions are related to the patient’s experience of tolerating the cancer disease.

In the same manner, strategies are used for the well-being of the patients like

  • Exercise
  • Meditation
  • Support groups

You can use Cancer as the code for the above study because it follows this disease and its related experiences.

Levels of Coding

There are four levels of coding qualitative data, each with its value. These levels build up theoretical concepts related to the research and its properties. The four levels are described below;

Level 1: Open / Initial Coding

The first level involves the generation of initial codes from the raw data. It is the basic step for qualitative coding in which the researcher has access to a large amount of qualitative data, makes categories, and labels them with codes.

Level 2: Focused Coding / Category development

Level 2 involves the re-examination of the whole data that was processed for Level 1. This focused coding helps make more useful categories and helps in easy interpretation.

Level 3: Axial / Thematic Coding

The third level involves the identification of themes that are generated in the first or second step. All the codes are made based on the qualitative data set.

Level 4: Selective Coding

It is the step in which the researcher can determine the more significant codes and then make theories upon the data. These theories help in building a narrative about the research study.

10 Pro Tips for Qualitative Coding in Masters Dissertation

Qualitative coding for the masters-level data is not easy to access. For every student, it is necessary to have a strong grip on the topics and related literature. I have summarized ten professional tips that help make effective qualitative research data coding.

Tip 1: Strong grip on knowledge

First of all, start reading all the related knowledge from today. More grips over knowledge make you a successful candidate to categories your data based on specific parameters. Thus, you can code your study data with the best and most appropriate approach.

Tip 2: Plan a Code

In the next step, study the organized data and make codes. Create an outline for all the codes that came to mind while reading non-numerical data. Select the code that can better apply to the qualitative data.

Tip 3: Select consistent coding

Always use the coding scheme that better matches your data. The coding plan helps you generate the codes according to the topic, but the best code is interesting. Using codes that can be consistent and calibrated with real data is better.

Tip 4: Make detailed notes

Keep all the details saved on some paper. Write all the coding processes and changes made during the data process.

Tip 5: Software usage

There are many soft wares available for the process. The software has made coding easier and faster than the manual method. The best soft wares are NVivo and Atlas.ti, which help in fast and reliable coding for real data.

Tip 6: Seek guidance from peers

It is always a better approach to seek masters dissertation help from the intellectuals. Peers from the respective field can help check the validity and reliability of the whole data and its coding. Thus, you will better understand any flaw or weakness of the whole processed data.

Tip 7: Revise and Refine the data

Revising your coding and other materials can help refine the data. After multiple readings, you can detect errors and issues with the whole data set. Thus, revising and refining the whole data makes an easy interpretation and analysis of the real data.

Tip 8: The use of Memos

The data analysis steps are very crucial for the masters dissertation research study. Therefore, recording and writing down all the thoughts and interpretations while processing the real data is best.

Tip 9: Stick to the objectives of the research

While performing the fundamental data analysis, always relate all your findings to the study’s objectives. It will increase the validation of results and avoids any data biases.

Tip 10: Relate your data

After you get your results and findings, relate them to previous results. You will know if there is any flaw or issue with these findings. Make experience-based justification on your findings and make interpretations.


Qualitative coding is essential for analyzing the research data of a master’s dissertation. Data analysis steps are necessary, but qualitative coding ensures that all the research data is accurate, valid and reliable. The above-mentioned ten pro tips for qualitative coding make results more insightful and have a successful contribution to  dissertation writing services findings.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

1) What is the difference between qualitative and quantitative coding?

Qualitative coding analyses non-numerical data such as text, audio, image etc. On the other hand, quantitate data involves data analysis in the form of numerical like surveys and experimental results.

2) Can qualitative coding be used in quantitate research?

Yes, if the data complements qualitative research, you can easily use qualitative coding for quantitative research.

3) What is the minimum time required for the coding process?

The coding process can take 4 to 6 hours for a specific interview. Moreover, the time range depends upon the complexity and amount of qualitative data. Giving enough time to the coding process is always important as it is the main step in creating valid and accurate results.

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