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2018 Activities: Graduate Student Research Team

Jennifer DeBoer

2018 was a busy year for our graduate student research team!  This year was primarily focused on data analysis of the focus group data collected in Jordan, Tunisia, and Malaysia. 

First, graduate research assistants Zahra Atiq (Purdue University) and Sarah Morton (Washington State University) finished stage 1, which was the qualitative coding of focus group data for all three countries (Jordan, Malaysia, and Tunisia).  Stage 1 began when Sarah wrote a Python program to split the focus group data by participant, and both Sarah and Zahra implemented this programming.  Qualitative coding involved reading through all of the focus group transcripts, highlighting small “data bits,” and labeling these portions of data.  Data bits typically consisted of groups of words, but went up to two or three sentences at the most.  We accomplished the qualitative coding using Dedoose software, which is qualitative analysis software that is used for the qualitative coding of interviews and focus groups.  This task resulted in many codes; some of the countries had over 2000 codes!  As you can imagine, this task took a lot of time, but it was very interesting to read the focus group transcripts and learn about women’s experiences in engineering in the three countries. 

After the qualitative coding was completed in June 2018, Zahra was finished with the project, but we added three additional graduate student researchers: Andrea De La Barrera Montppellier (Washington State University), Daeyeoul Lee (Purdue University), and Aziz Dridi (Purdue University).  These researchers and Sarah Morton worked on Stage 2 of the project, which was categorization.  Categorization consisted of looking at all of the codes from Stage 1 (qualitative coding) and placing them into small, labeled groups.  The end product of this stage was a category book containing the category names, descriptions, inclusion and exclusion criteria, and example codes.  The Purdue and WSU teams worked together on categorizing the Malaysia undergraduate student codes while training on categorization, but we worked in analyst pairs for the remaining units of analysis.  The principal investigators checked our work throughout Stage 2, with at least two principal investigators assigned to each unit of analysis. We completed Stage 2 primarily in google sheets and Microsoft Excel.  We are very close to finishing all of the units of analysis in Stage 2.

Lastly, the Purdue and WSU graduate student researchers began preliminary work for Stage 3, which is creating mind maps to show the relationships between categories.  We are using XMind software to create these mind maps. 

As you can see, 2018 was a productive year for our graduate student research team.  We look forward to where 2019 takes us!