Axial Coding Method

  • Research Methods
  • Qualitative

Axial coding is a qualitative research technique for categorizing data collected from participants. Axial coding helps relate data together in categories, subcategories, and codes and is associated with grounded theory. The grounded theory tradition involves constantly comparing emergent themes in research data with each step of coding further categorizing those themes. Axial coding is part of the three-step coding process: open, axial, and selective coding.

An axial coding process is a method used in grounded theory studies involving relating concepts within both active and axial codes through theoretical sampling (Morse, 1986). Coding does not seek independent observations but instead illustrates how categories are embedded within each other by creating linkages between them (Charmaz, 2014). Axial coding helps researchers see patterns emerging across different data points.

When it comes to breaking down the process of axial coding, there are four different subcategories that can be separated. These include dividing categories into their own sections or codes as well as describing how data is coded and linked together using grounded theory procedures in order for researchers/reporters alike to have a better understanding on what they’re studying when doing research about a particular subject matter.

When refined, axial coding can be described as a "hub-and-spoke" model of categories. With key categories as the hub and subcategories as the spokes.

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