If you’ve ever experienced the effort of coding interviews, then you know we are joking when we say ‘the joys of coding.’ But while it takes quite a bit of effort to step through an interview, transcribe it, find meaningful quotes and apply ‘tags’ or codes that reference themes, this process is so important to understanding the meanings behind what is being said and to learn from them.
In an earlier post we discussed the importance of generating a good interview guide. The follow up to that effort is obviously the interview itself. If the guide has been thoughtfully constructed and the interviewer is comfortable in leading and facilitating the conversation, then there should be a wealth of information embedded in the interview transcript. Thematic coding is like a key to unlock this knowledge. It forces you to listen carefully to what is being said and to make mental connections about important topics and relationships that arise during conversation. Much of this knowledge is often latent …it resides in the subconscious of the interviewee and only gets pulled out through the prodding of an effective interview.
For this project we have at least 17 interviews, some of which last 1.5 to 2 hours. Obviously that’s a lot of information to digest. But because we are creating a documentary with primary themes we want to explore, it has made the process a bit easier than a typical research exploration. The nature of the guides has definitely helped in providing more accessible insights. Typically one would need to hunt for themes in the individual transcripts and then filter and combine across all the interviews to find the common, important themes that speak to the root of the research question. In this case themes were relatively easy to spot and group together. We set up a template to ensure that coding is prepared consistently and allows us to easily identify meaningful quotes at various timestamps for our upcoming video editing effort.
In the end we hope to stitch together inspiring insight in a way that makes you think about your own situation…your challenges…your approaches. The coding process has helped us immensely in finding some keys to the successful integration of design and business. We look forward to sharing them with you!