cubs workshop 2016

Coding Moment of the Week 3

By Owen Sullivan

For the past few weeks, members of the NOISE Project have been coding responses from interviews that were conducted over the summer. During the coding process, we scan interview  answers for their main ideas, and then assign them words or phrases that capture these main themes. These words and phrases are called codes. For more information on coding, check out Luna Castelli’s video here! Each week, we’ll outline our “Moment of the Week,” in which we share an interesting coding discussion. Here’s this week’s!

What They Said

“Because one of the lab’s main aspects of our mission is to be global, getting into communities, involving them, showing how important this work is for them and their community”


How We Coded It

The interviewee begins by referring to the lab’s “mission” and citing that mission as a reason for the lab’s work with communities. From this first sentence, we can easily apply the codes mission and motivation.

Notice how the interviewee states that the lab’s mission is to “show them,” referring to community partners, “how important this work is for them.” In doing so, the interviewee implies that it is Cornell’s responsibility to educate and “show” communities the importance of the work. From this, we applied the code I know what you need, which is defined as: “Implementing top down programming in the community even when it was not relevant or effective. Institutional or personal confidence that their expertise and resources are best.” 

For this same section, we also applied the important code Top-Down Deficit. This code is applied when the ‘top’’ of the power hierarchy uses leadership and instruction to fix or correct a perceived deficiency exhibited by those in less powerful positions. In this case, according to the interviewee, communities may not understand “how important this work is.” This is the perceived deficiency. The interviewee wants the lab to use their leadership and instruction to fix this issue by showing the communities the importance of this work.

Note the importance of the word “show” in this excerpt. Think about the implications that the word holds. Notice how it places the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the role of a teacher, who must “show” certain things to communities in order for those communities to understand the importance of science.

Question for thought: If the interviewee’s statements reflect a top-down approach, what would a bottom-up, co-created approach look like? What would be different? Which approach would you choose to implement, if you had to decide?

Do you agree with the codes we applied? Do you disagree? Are you comfortable with the thought process that took place?

Let us know!