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E-Qual app aims to boost understanding of qualitative coding

A Loughborough University academic is sharing her expertise in teaching the notoriously difficult subject of coding qualitative data with the launch of a new app.

Coding is a technique used in the Social Sciences that facilitates the organisation and interpretation of qualitative data. Passages of text are coded according to categories, which are identified by reading and interpreting the data collected.

However teaching qualitative coding to students can be challenging as the topics covered are diverse and the subjective nature of the technique can prove difficult for some to comprehend. The E-Qual app aims to address some of these challenges by demonstrating the basic concept of coding qualitative data, using Thematic Analysis.

The teaching aid could potentially support thousands of students within the UK and internationally. It offers an additional learning resource to complement direct, face-to-face teaching of qualitative research methods across the Social Sciences.

E-Qual has been developed by Dr Hilary McDermott and colleagues from the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, with funding from the University’s Enterprise Projects Group (EPG).

In addition to a visual ‘how to’ guide, it provides students with the opportunity to code a section of a data transcript themselves and compare their coding with that of the researcher.

Dr McDermott explains: “The app offers students a technology-supported learning environment to complement the teaching of thematic qualitative coding, which can be used at any time within any setting.

“By using E-Qual to support their independent learning students will be able to boost their understanding and build up confidence in their analytic approach to the thematic coding process.”

E-Qual is available now to download free from the Apple app store.