Top critical review
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Methods not methodology
on 13 October 2013
This book is more about the 'technical' side of coding - it is a "manual" describing the varied ways of coding which the author has identified in the literature. However, there is little talk of methodology in the broadest sense, e.g. the epistemological and ontological commitments that shape research, including analysis. The author draws heavily from grounded theory, and appears to be a realist which shapes his understanding and presentation of coding. The "second cycle" coding methods are about focused, axial and theoretical coding - with a scattering of other methods like longitudinal coding discussed too. Those who work from critical, richly interpretivist and hermeneutic perspectives may struggle with the static and formulaic presentations of getting to the truth of the data.
Ultimately, whilst I didn't realise that there were so many ways to drag and drop text using CAQDAS (and I didn't know what different methods were called - which is why I reference the book in my publications), I found the book frustrating to use because I couldn't find the right coding method for my methodology and research design, despite dozens of coding strategies reviewed with appropriate-sounding names.
I give this book 3 stars out of 5, but please note that I'm a researcher with a PhD at a UK university. My review is based on my needs and understandings, but lecturers teaching research students how to code may find the book useful as an introduction. It is well-written, offers definitions of coding and reasons to code, and offers readers a glossary and references for further reading.