10 The Coding Panel: creating factors and links

Qualitative causal mapping involves taking passages of text, e.g. from interviews or documents, and identifying sections which make causal claims. We highlight each of these sections and specify a causal factor at each end of each link (for example Lost job or Went hungry). This means creating a new factor or reusing an existing one. Usually we create these factors inductively as we code, and revise and review and consolidate them as part of the process, as with any other kind of qualitative content analysis. This section is about how to create factors and their labels.

In Causal Map, a factor is its label. Once you create a label, there is nothing else to add.

10.3 Using memos and hashtags

10.3.2 Hashtags / link flags

Hashtags are available as a special kind of memo when coding a link: you can use them to provide any kind of additional information, for example:

  • about the causal connection, e.g.
    • the respondent says this is only true for their village, not for other villages
    • where a link is only projected for the future
  • about the claim about the causal connection
    • where a link is only a hypothesis
    • to add other qualifying information like “source seems unsure.”
    • respondent doesn’t like this connection
    • respondent feels good about the outcome.
  • for you, the analyst, e.g.
    • respondent is answering a different question
    • to tag links you want to come back and review.

As usual in Causal Map, you can apply one or more hashtags, and you can either select existing hashtags or create new ones on the fly.

Later, you can filter the map to show only links containing specific hashtags (or parts of hashtags), and also for links which do not contain specific hashtags or parts of hashtags.