data and coding

Field Notes and Coding

One of the most common ways to collect data in qualitative research is to gather field notes about a phenomenon under the study. Using the video Jigsaw (Reading Rockets, 2012), create field notes that document your observations about the learning and interactions in the video. Use the provided t-chart Click for more options

to document your field notes. The first minute or two is about the jigsaw structure (you don’t need to have notes on the overview piece). Begin taking notes when the teacher in the video gives directions to students working in various group formats. The total length of the film is about nine and a half minutes.

After completing your field notes while watching the video clip, review the notes and make some initial attempts at coding for patterns and ideas that are present in the notes. Make sure you are coding the observations side of your t-chart notes as this is the raw data you generated from viewing the video clip. See chapter 12 of the text (McMillan, 2015), pages 350-352, for further information on coding and an example of coded field notes.

As you code your notes, identify ideas that appear repeatedly. The easiest way to indicate these is to highlight them in different colors, then define what each color code means. For example, if you highlight the words “behavior,” “kid out of seat,” and “kids talking out of turn,” you would indicate that these comments all fit under the code of “classroom management.” Provide the list of how you have organized your codes so that others can understand your thinking.

Post your coded field notes to the discussion board.


Reading Rockets. (2012, February 16). Jigsaw [Video file]. Retrieved from

Fundamentals of Education Research (McMillan, 2015)
  • Chapter 11: Qualitative Research Design
  • Chapter 12: Qualitative Data Collection, Analysis, and Credibility
  • Chapter 5: Participants and Sampling
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