How to Classify Data Codes and Themes in Qualitative Analysis

Data Codes and Themes

How many hours have you spent on Excel Spreadsheet to classify the qualitative data? Most probably, a lot. Dealing with qualitative data for qualitative analysis and getting new insights from the data is not an easy task. It requires you to identify the codes in the data first and then classify and extract the themes hidden in those codes. The classification of the data codes and themes is the main task, and many students fail to do this effectively.

Keeping this difficulty of students in mind, in today’s post, we will discuss how to classify the qualitative data for qualitative analysis into different codes. Along with this, there will also be a discussion on how to code different themes. Hence, today’s article is going to be a complete guide on classifying data codes and themes in qualitative analysis.

Guidelines For Classifying Qualitative Data Into Data Codes And Themes

Coding is the process of labeling the qualitative data to identify different themes and relationships between the collected data. When coding the data and themes in qualitative analysis, it is important that you follow all the guidelines to do it. What are those guidelines? Worry not; a brief description of all those guidelines is as follows:

Choose The Coding Approach

There are two different approaches used to code the qualitative data. First of all, you need to choose which approach is the best for your data. One approach is deductive, and the other is inductive. The deductive approach includes dealing with the data codes and themes which are developed previously. However, inductive is about jumping into the data and coding it.

Go Through Your Data

Before classifying the data into data codes and themes, it is important that you code the data. To code the data, the most necessary thing is to go through the whole data and have a know-how of what it is about and what it looks like. By doing so, you get an initial understanding of the data, which helps you a lot in setting the base for coding the data. During this step, you can code the data roughly. Remember, the codes created here are not the final ones.

Analyse The Data Line-By-Line

After initial skimming of the data, it is now time to analyse the data line-by-line. Qualitative data is not numeric and consists of words, expressions, and statements. Therefore, it is not possible to grab the whole concept at once. Therefore, it is important to read the qualitative data line-by-line. This detailed reading exposes you to more themes present in the data and helps you develop the data codes and themes effectively. Remember that your codes in this step should be more detailed.

Classify The Generated Codes

After performing the steps mentioned above, you have successfully coded the qualitative data. Along with this, you also have got know-how of the themes present. Now, it is time to classify those data codes and themes into different categories. The classification depends on the chosen method of coding, i.e., whether you have used deductive coding or inductive coding. You can classify the codes based on the following:

  • Reference. Are the codes referring to a specific point of your qualitative study?
  • Occurrence. In this way of classifying the codes, you discuss how a group of codes happen. How it occurs in the data?
  • Sequence. The third way based on which you can classify the data into codes is a sequence. It discusses which code comes after/before the other.

Hence, these are four steps involved in the classification of qualitative data codes and themes. If you feel any ambiguity in understanding the steps, you can get help from the experts of top academic writing services.

Advantages Of Coding The Qualitative Data

Although coding the qualitative data is a hectic process, it is very advantageous too. A brief description of its advantages is as follows:

  • Coding the data and classifying the data codes and themes into different categories helps a lot in refining the data.
  • Along with removing impurities from the data, it also assists in finding hidden themes and patterns effectively.
  • Although coding the qualitative data is a time-consuming process, it helps a lot in streamlining the overall analysis process.
  • It fosters further research on the topic and allows other researchers to take your coded data and gain new insights into the data.


Qualitative data coding and classifying the data codes and themes is undoubtedly a very hectic process. It involves analysing the whole qualitative data, which is in the form of words and expressions line-by-line. However, by following the four steps mentioned above and choosing the right method for coding, you can easily code and classify your data. So, what are you waiting for? Read the steps, follow them, and code your data.