For those of you who are research savvy, and qualitative research savvy in particular, you might recognize the term "grounded theory." In this study, we are using Charmaz (2006)'s version of grounded theory. Part of this method involves taking time out during the beginning phases of your data collection to look at the data that you have thus far, and doing what is called "initial coding." Initial coding is basically making a line-by-line summary of what the participant said. It is useful because it keeps the researcher close to the data and using the participant's terms rather than using the researcher's own pre-conceived ideas about the topic under investigation.
So, we have conducted 10 interviews to date, and have transcribed them all. We are now going to do the initial coding process and discover what our data tells us thus far. Once we do that, we'll do another "round" of interviews (probably 10 at a time) to do more digging into the topic. The benefit of doing this "pause and reflect" method is that it gives the researcher the opportunity to revise her interview questions, or to explore a particular topic with future participants. It can help focus the data collection into more meaningful stories. This is essentially what an "emergent design" is intended to do. It helps the researcher see what meaning emerges from the data, and to follow that emergent meaning in subsequent data collection.
We'll post another update once we have completed the initial coding, and start up interviews again! Thanks for staying tuned!