Qualitative secondary analysis has generated heated debate regarding the epistemology of qualitative research. We argue that shifting to an abductive approach provides a fruitful avenue for qualitative secondary analysts who are oriented towards theory-building. However, the concrete implementation of abduction remains underdeveloped—especially for coding. We address this key gap by outlining a set of tactics for abductive analysis that can be applied for qualitative analysis. Our approach applies Timmermans and Tavory’s (Timmermans and Tavory 2012; Tavory and Timmermans 2014) three stages of abduction in three steps for qualitative (secondary) analysis: Generating an Abductive Codebook, Abductive Data Reduction through Code Equations, and In-Depth Abductive Qualitative Analysis. A key contribution of our article is the development of “code equations”—defined as the combination of codes to operationalize phenomena that span individual codes. Code equations are an important resource for abduction and other qualitative approaches that leverage qualitative data to build theory.
Vila-Henninger, L., Dupuy, C., Van Ingelgom, V., Caprioli, M., Teuber, F., Pennetreau, D., Bussi, M., & Le Gall, C. (2022). Abductive Coding: Theory Building and Qualitative (Re)Analysis. Sociological Methods & Research, 0(0). see publication