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Ways to code social media data--and their implications

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I am quite familiar with NVivo and have used it for many qualitative research projects with interview data.

Now I am using it for social media analysis (~5000 comments of varied length). I would like to ask what is the best approach to code the data where multiple codes may apply to a Tweet or forum post etc. I have collected Tweets, Facebook posts, forum posts etc and each is a different sources i.e. Tweets are a source, Facebook comments are a source, a forum  is a source etc. So a source contains multiple rows of data. My question is how to code these and which is the best approach:

  • Assign only one code to a comment?
  • Assign multiple codes to a comment?
  • Assign multiple codes but only to parts (e.g. a sentence) of a comment?
  • Assign a code per sentence of a comment?

A challenge is that the same code may be assigned several times in a forum post (e.g. someone may refer to the same phenomena in different ways in several different sentences) and I since I am dealing with a large amount of data I am unsure on how to best account for this so that when I do some basic statistical work  the results make sense.


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