CODING, MANIPULATION CHECKS, POSTEXPERIMENTAL INTERVIEWS
…AND OTHER WAYS QUALITATIVE DATA SNEAK INTO YOUR LIFE
By: Lauren Boyatzi
November 28, 2011
WHAT IS QUALITATIVE RESEARCH?
Please take a minute…
 Subjective
 Atheoretical
 Unable to show causation
 Lack of generalizeability
 Little-to-no a priori knowledge
 Naturalistic approach
 Time-consuming/difficult

WHAT IS QUALITATIVE RESEARCH?

There is a “wide consensus that qualitative
research is a naturalistic, interpretative approach
concerned with understanding the meanings which
people attach to phenomena (actions, decisions,
beliefs, values, etc.) within their social worlds”

(Snape & Spencer, 2003, pg. 3, in “Qualitative Research
Practice: A Guide for Social Science Students and
Researchers, edited by Ritchie & Lewis)
WHAT IS QUALITATIVE RESEARCH?
Qualitative Research
Aim is complete, detailed description
Zero to little a priori knowledge of
phenomena
Recommended during earlier phases of
research
Design occurs as study is conducted
Data = words, pictures, objects
Subjective
Less generalizeability, but more rich in
detail
Different assumptions (e.g., variables are
interwoven, difficult to measure), purpose
(e.g., contextualization), approach (e.g.,
naturalistic), and researcher role (e.g.,
partiality) than quantitative
Quantitative Research
Aim is to classify features, quantify them,
and construct statistical model to explain
observations
Much a priori knowledge of phenomena
Recommended during latter phases of
research
Study is carefully designed prior to data
collection
Data = numbers
Objective
More generalizeability but may miss
contextual information
Different assumptions (e.g., variables are
identifiable and relationships can be
measured), purpose (e.g., prediction),
approach (e.g., experimentation), and
researcher role (e.g., impartiality) than
qualitative
HOW APPLICABLE

IS QUALITATIVE RESEARCH?
Developmental Psychology
Interviews of childhood experiences
Observationally coding the quality of parent-child
interactions and/or parental sensitivity
 Parent-child discourse (quality, open communication)



Culture/Negotiation


Terrorism (within Social Psychology)



Amount/type of therapist self-disclosure on patient
outcomes
Cognitive Psychology



Propaganda videos
Motivations of suicide terrorists
Counseling Psychology


MURI interviews regarding honor, dignity, face
Accuracy of memory of an event
Presence/absence of and elaborateness of a false memory
Legal Psychology

Reasons that jurors (mock or real) provide for verdicts
WHY YOU MAY WANT TO USE QDA (AND)
WHAT DOES IT PROVIDE?
Some data are only qualitative (e.g. terrorist
propaganda videos) and in order to be analyzed,
need to be quantified in some way
 We don’t always know what the numbers mean
when we collect quantitative data


Thus, you should include free response questions and
post experimental interviews to make sure that you
and participants are thinking that the numbers mean
the same thing


Construct validity
Especially good for beginning stages of research and
for when awareness of what you’re studying on the
part of the participants matters (e.g. social
desirability issues, suspicion check)
HOW CAN QDA WORK FOR YOU?
(WHAT IS YOUR PURPOSE?)


Can be entire project or only a small piece (as with openended questions)
Exploratory/pilot
Ex. Understanding basic nature of revenge, why do people get
revenge, how often, how do they feel after, etc
 (if literature doesn’t provide theory for specifics already)


Manipulation check


Post experimental interview


Ex. Did you think that your partner giving you negative
feedback constituted a transgression?
Ex. During experiment in which you worked with a partner,
did you experience a transgression, if so, how did that make
you feel, did you want revenge afterwards, did you consider
other reactions to the perceived transgression, etc.?
Test specific questions

Ex. Have participants experience a transgression and for the
DV, have open-ended question about how they would like to
respond to transgressor
PURPOSE DICTATES WHETHER INTERRATER
RELIABILITY/AGREEMENT WITHIN CODING IS A CONCERN

Exploratory/pilot, manipulation check, post
experimental interview don’t really require
agreement between coders

This is mostly for data that you will not publish but
rather informs your research (e.g. focus groups about
how well an intervention is working; information used to
remove subjects due to suspicion or “drop out” reasons)
Testing hypotheses definitely requires interrater
reliability
 Look at the standards in your literature and the
journals in which you hope to publish


Also consider the time/energy you can commit
SEVERAL APPROACHES TO INTER-RATER
RELIABILITY/AGREEMENT AND CODING

Train two people to 95% agreement, then release
each to code half of the document(s)


Train two people, have each code separate parts
of the document as well as some of the same
parts to assess IRR on the latter part


“medium” level of rigor
Train two (or more) people, have each code all of
the document(s); assess IRR on every document


least rigorous; probably okay for a lower impact
journal
most rigorous; best for top tier journal
(there are variations of these)
ASSESSING INTER-RATER RELIABILITY
AND AGREEMENT

Assigning Stimuli to Nominal Categories

interrater agreement - % agree/total


Content validity ratio (CVR) – multiple raters rating a
single dichotomous stimulus



**Most commonly used
Cohen, J. (1960). A coefficient of agreement for nominal scales. Educational and Psychological
Measurement, 20, 37-46.
Fleiss’ kappa – extension of Cohen’s kappa for more than
two coders


Lawshe, C. H. (1975). A quantitative approach to content validity. Personnel Psychology, 28, 563575.
Cohen’s kappa – two raters rating multiple stimuli


best for present/not (0 or 1) type of codes
Fleiss, J. L. (1971). Measuring nominal scale agreement among many raters. Psychological
Bulletin, 76, 378-383.
Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) – interrater
agreement for multiple judges

There are many versions and they differ (Shrout & Fleiss, 1979)
ASSESSING INTER-RATER RELIABILITY
AND AGREEMENT

Assigning Stimuli to Continuous Constructs

rwg(1) –interrater agreement index for continuous
constructs

Not limited to two coders

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Standard deviation (measure of observed variability)

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James, L.R. Demaree, R.J., & Wolf, G. (1984). Estimating within-group interrater reliability
with and without response bias. Journal of Applied Psychology, 69, 85-98.
James, L.R. Demaree, R.J., & Wolf, G. (1993). Rwg: An assessment of within-group interrater
agreement. Journal of Applied Psychology, 78, 306-309.
Schmidt, F. L., & Hunter, J. E. (1989). Interrater reliability coefficients cannot be computed when only one
stimulus is rated. Journal of Applied Psychology, 74, 638-370.
…Or you can skip coding altogether and go with
a “QDA program,” e.g.
Atlas.ti
 nVivo
 LIWC

WHAT YOU CAN DO WITH THE DATA ONCE
YOU HAVE IT

Examine frequencies


E.g. “How often is revenge mentioned in a recall task
asking about a transgression?”
Measure correlation between two constructs

E.g. “Within an interview about past transgressions,
how often are revenge and honor mentioned?”


Use Phi coefficient
Network analysis – how words are connected to
other words
Same technique as social network analysis
 Use programs AutoMap and Ora to analyze
 Fun fact: I heard that this is how Enron was busted
(words were connected to other words that they
shouldn’t have been)

CONCLUSIONS

Both qualitative and quantitative research can
have same methodological rigor

(and same assumptions, purpose, approach, research
role/objectivity, etc)
What you do differently (or the same) depends on
your purpose and research question
 Qualitative data collection and analysis is for
everyone!



Improves research by making it richer/stronger
Can be used in field, lab, and regardless of
area/topics
IMPORTANT POINTS FROM DISCUSSION
Interrater reliability should be assessed at the level at
which you make your conclusions
 You can/should assess coder “drifting” which can occur:

If one coder drifts from manual and other coders
 If two coders are reliable with each other but drift from
manual

Qualitative data can provide compelling examples (e.g.
quotes or video) for your paper/talks
 You can/should publish your coding manual so that
other researchers in your field understand your criteria
for different constructs


May alleviate simple interpretation disagreements
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and Other Ways Qualitative Data Sneak Into Your Life