What is Coding in communication and in research


coding is the process of converting certain information into symbols in order to be communicated , and in order to be understood by the receiver, applying the rules of a predetermined code. That is to say that in coding the sender converts his ideas into signs that are easily understood by those who receive the information.

In the communication process, the sender of a message is the person who communicates the information to another person or receiver, who is the one who receives said information.

Understanding coding in communication

There are many ways to send a message during communication .

Some may choose to convey information through the spoken word, while other situations will require information to be conveyed through body language, images, symbols, or written words.

Regardless of how we communicate, however, encoding will always be a necessary step in the process.

Think of encoding as the act of converting ideas or information into words, gestures, or some other form that conveys meaning.

Encoding is the responsibility of the sender – or the person transmitting the information.

To start the communication process, the sender must first encode his message in such a way that it can be understood by the recipient.

If the sender fails to encode the message correctly, the receiver will not be able to determine the meaning of the message and communication breaks down.

The coding process

In professional contexts where more formal methods of communication are the norm, the coding process has three fundamental components.

1 – Selecting a language

Selecting a language to encode the message is intuitive for those who share a common language.

However, when an employee communicates with someone from another country, it may be necessary to slow down the speech rate or pronounce the words more clearly to ensure the receiver can decode the message. 

The language can also vary according to the formality of the work context.

Communication in the team lunchroom will be more casual than communication to make a sales presentation or catch up with others in an important meeting.

2 – Selecting a means of communication

The appropriate communication medium determines the effectiveness of decoding, but with so many options available, choosing the right medium is extremely important. 

Most options fall into one of four categories: speaking, writing, non-verbal cues, and symbols.

The spoken word is an auditory form of communication , while non-verbal signals such as body movements, facial expressions, and touch patterns can be visual, auditory, and tactile .

3 – Selecting an appropriate form of communication

The appropriate communication form depends on the context.

In other words, the relationship between the sender and the recipient and the general intent or purpose of the communication itself.

In a presentation, for example, an employee might use graphic or video illustrations to communicate key points to a potential customer.

In a performance review article , the subordinate may nod or smile to convey understanding and avoid interrupting their superior.

Oral communication is the most common form and can be face-to-face (interpersonal), public speaking, group-based or over the phone.

There are also circumstances where written forms such as memos, emails, proposals, press releases and reports are the most appropriate option.

main takeaways

  • Coding is the process of converting ideas or information into words or gestures that will convey meaning. 
  • Encoding is the responsibility of the sender, also known as the person transmitting the information. If the sender fails to encode the message correctly, the receiver will not be able to determine the meaning of the message and communication will fail.
  • In professional contexts where more formal methods of communication are the norm, coding comprises three components. The person transmitting the information must select a languagecommunication medium, and communication .

What is data coding in research?

The data coding in an investigation consists of the process in which the categories on which the data to be addressed are defined. Generally this process is used to perform data analysis in qualitative research .

Coding is a process that consists of identifying a passage of text or other data (photographs, images, etc.), searching for and identifying concepts, and finding relationships between them. Therefore, coding is not just labeling, it is relating the data to the research idea and to other data.

The codes that are applied allow you to organize the data so that it can be examined and analyzed in a structured way, for example, by looking at the relationships between the codes.

Why is it necessary to code qualitative data?

Coding qualitative data makes messy information quantifiable, and helps convince stakeholders that the data you’ve collected truly reflects the needs and wants of users.

Codes in qualitative research are just as important as numbers in a quantitative study, as they provide credibility when presenting results to teams, clients, and stakeholders. 

An important aspect that you must take into account is that the coding of the data in an investigation can be done manually or automatically. We will present each one below.

How is a manual data encoding done?

The general process that you must follow in manual research data coding can be summarized in these 5 steps:

  1. Choose whether to use deductive or inductive coding .
  2. Read the data to get an idea of ​​what it looks like. Assigns the first set of codes.
  3. Go through the data line by line to encode as much as possible. In this step, the codes should be more detailed. 
  4. Categorize the codes and find out how they fit into the coding framework.
  5. Identify the topics that appear the most and act accordingly.

Types of manual data coding in research

As we previously mentioned, there are two types of manual data coding: deductive coding and inductive coding. Now we will introduce you to what each one consists of.

Deductive data encoding

Deductive coding is a method in which a codebook is produced as a reference to guide the coding process. Generally, the codebook is developed before the field investigation and data collection phase begins . 

If you have a general orientation in mind, you can make an approximate codebook. This codebook may change as the investigation progresses, as new codes are added and categories are rearranged. In the end, the codebook should reflect the structure of the data.

The deductive approach can save time and help ensure that you code your areas of interest. However, care must be taken with bias, as when starting with pre-defined codes, there may be a bias in what the responses will be. 

Inductive data encoding

This is applied when there is little knowledge about the subject of the investigation . In this case, you don’t have a codebook, but build from scratch from the data.

Both types of encoding methods have their own pros and cons, but the end result should be similar. Most of the data must be coded and capable of forming a narrative .

Steps to perform an inductive coding

The process to carry out a data coding in an investigation from an inductive approach is:

  1. Divide your qualitative data set into smaller samples.
  2. Read a sample of the data.
  3. Create codes that cover the sample.
  4. Reread the sample and apply the codes.
  5. Read a new data sample, applying the codes you created for the first sample.
  6. See where the codes don’t match or where you need additional codes.
  7. Create new codes based on the second sample.
  8. Recode all responses.
  9. Repeat step 5 until you have encoded all the data.

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