Data coding for indigenous language research: attaching local meanings in generating categories and themes

Roselind Wan
  • SHS Web of Conferences, January 2018, EDP Sciences
  • DOI: 10.1051/shsconf/20185301002

Data coding for indigenous language research

What is it about?

In this paper, I describe the development of categories and themes in a study designed to examine the perceptions on language and identity of Kayan elders in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo. It demonstrates the analytic rigour in the stages of coding, and in the identification of categories and emergent theme, and offers a rationale for open coding in the native language. The paper concludes with suggestion for using native language in coding, and the significance of considering the real-world context of participants in data analysis.

Why is it important?

In indigenous research, it is important to understand local context and what words mean in their original language. In this paper, I present a rationale for using Kayan language in the initial coding, suggesting that coding done in participant’s language may offer a viable alternative to deeper analysis of the data.


Roselind Wan
Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS

The goal of ethnography is to “grasp the natives’ point of view, his relation to life, to realize his vision of his world” (Malinoswki, 1922: 25). Coding the data in Kayan gives preference to participants’ own words, thus, retain the essence of the native’s meaning.

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The following have contributed to this page: Roselind Wan