The virtual interview question: Explain what being a doctoral student means for you? How has your life changed since starting your doctoral journey?
Description of your coding process
The steps I followed in this coding process were to read the responses once, at least one week before this individual project assignment was due. This allowed me to think of generic themes, and codes at a super high level throughout the week. Then after the week was over, I quickly went to wordle.net to create a word cloud on the top 50 most used words in this virtual interview and found out the results below.
Figure 1: Screenshot for wordle.net results which were used to help develop sub-codes and codes, words that bigger appear more often in the virtual interview than those words that are smaller.
The most telling themes from Figure 1 are: Time, Family, Life, Work, Student, Learning, Frist, Opportunity, Research, People, etc. This helped create some codes and some of the sub-codes like prioritization, for family, etc. Figure 1 has also helped me to confirm my ideas for codes that I have been thinking already in my head for the past week, thus I felt ready to begin coding. After, deciding on the initial set of codes, I did some manual coding, while asking the questions: “What is the person saying? And how they are saying it? And could there be a double meaning in the sentences?” The last question helped me identify if each sentence in this virtual interview had multiple codes within it. I used QDA Miner Lite as my software of choice for coding, it is an open-source product and there are plenty of end-user tutorials made by different researchers from many fields on how to effectively use this software effectively on YouTube. After the initial manual coding, I revisited the initial coding book. Some of the subcodes that fell under betterment, were moved into the future code as it better fit that theme than just pure betterment. This reanalysis of coding went on for all codes. As I re-read the responses for the third time, some new subcodes got added as well. The reason for re-reading this virtual interview a third time was to make sure not many other codes could be created or were missing.
Topical Coding Scheme (Code Book)
The codebook that was derived is as follows:
- For Family
- Started by Family
- First in the Family
- Pushing through
- Life Challenges
- Upgrade skills
- Personal Growth
- Priority Reanalysis
- More rewarding
- Better Life
- Proving something
- To others
Diagram of findings
Below are images developed through the analytical/automated part QDA Miner Lite:
Figure 2: Distribution of codes in percentages throughout the virtual interview.
Figure 3: Distribution of codes in frequency throughout the virtual interview.
Figure 4: Distribution of codes in frequency throughout the virtual interview in terms of a word cloud where more frequent codes appear bigger than less frequent codes.
Brief narrative summary of finding referring to your graphic diagram
Given figures 2-4, one could say that the biggest theme for going into the doctoral program is the prospect of a better life and hoping to change the world, as they more frequently showed up in the interview. One student states that their degree would open many doors, “Pursuing and obtaining this level of degree would help to open doors that I may not be able to walk through otherwise.” While another student says that hopefully, their research will change the future lives of many “The research that I am going to do will hopefully allow people to truly pursue after their dreams in this ever-changing age, and let the imagination of what is possible within the business world be the limit.” Other students are a bit more practical with their responses stating things like “…move up in my organization and make contributions to the existing knowledge” and finally “More opportunities open for you as well as more responsibility for being credible and usefulness as a cog in the system”
Another concept that kept repeating here is that this is done for family, and because of family work, and school, the life of a doctoral student in this class has to be reprioritized (hence the code priority reanalysis). This is primarily seen as all forms of graphical output show that these are the two most significant things that drive towards the degree. One student went to one extreme, “Excluding family and school members, I am void of the three ‘Ps’ (NO – people, pets, or plants). I quit my full-time job and will be having the TV signal turned off after the Super Bowl to force additional focus.” Another student said that time was the most important thing they had and that it has changed significantly, “The most tangible thing that has changed in my life since I became a doctoral student has been my schedule. Since this term began I have put myself on a strict schedule designating specific time for studies, my wife, and time for myself.” Finally, another student says balance is key for them: “Having to balance family time, work, school, and other social responsibilities, has been another adjusted change while on this educational journey. The support of my family has been very instrumental in helping me to succeed and the journey has been a great experience thus far.” There are 7 instances in which these two codes overlap/included within each other, which apparently happen 80% of the time.
Thus, from this virtual interview, I am able to conclude that family is mentioned with priority reanalysis in order to meet the goal of the doctoral degree and that time management a component of priority reanalysis is key. There are students that take this reanalysis to the extreme as aforementioned, but if they feel that is the only way they could accomplish this degree in a timely manner, then who am I to judge. After all, it is the job of the researcher, when coding to be non-biased. However, the family could drive people to complete the degree, it is the prospects of a better life and changing the world for the better is what was mentioned most.
An output file from qualitative software can be generated by using QDA Miner Lite.