MC3 Meta-analysis Coding Framework

Coding is an iterative process for developing grounded theory where data is refined in steps (Auerbach & Silverstein, 2003). The first step involves identifying relevant text, which consists of excerpts that seem important or meaningful. The second step involves categorizing these excerpts into recurring ideas or concepts, which form the basis for analysis in grounded theory (Corbin & Strauss, 1990). These recurring ideas are further abstracted into themes, which are in turn interrelated and organized as theoretical constructs. These theoretical constructs, which are supported by data in the form of relevant text, are woven together into a theoretical narrative (Auerbach & Silverstein, 2003; Corbin & Strauss, 1990; Creswell, 2009).

The coding framework was developed through a series of discussions among the MC3 interdisciplinary team, using the case study protocol and research outcomes to guide the process. The coding framework was revised by conducting a preliminary analysis (supported through visual analytics) that examined how the codes performed against the data, contextually. Results of the preliminary analysis lead to merging of codes that lay within the same conceptual domain and removing of codes that were contextually misaligned with the research concepts of interest.

Transcribed interviews, case studies, dialogues, and workshop notes were coded in an iterative process that involved continual review and refinement over a period of six months to ensure codes appropriately represent the concepts analyzed. The software used was NVivo, selected for its ability to code large data sets, illuminate areas of coding convergence and compare similarities in coding and types of terms found in a data set.


Auerbach, C. F., & Silverstein, L. B. (2003). Qualitative data: An introduction to coding and analysis. New York: New York University Press.

Creswell, J. W. Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (3rd ed.). Los Angeles: Sage Publications, Inc., 2009.

Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1998). Basics of qualitative research: Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.