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• For this assignment, you will be analyzing a number of stories about family culture. Culture is typically thought of as a particular group’s beliefs, knowledge, patterns, customs, values, norms, laws, etc. The people whose stories you will be reading were asked to briefly describe their family’s culture. (See stories on following pages)• You will be doing first and second level coding as described in your text on pp. 217-218. You will be using indigenous categoriesconstructed from the stories (see p 219 in your text for definition).• We will be using an Excel spreadsheet to record and organize our data in this exercise.

First Level Coding

1. Identify the important experiences or ideas in the data or “meaning units.”a. Before you begin, read all the stories for general content.b. Then, re-read each “story” and look for important “experiences” or ideas about the “culture” described in each story.  Look for short sentences or phrases.  These are the meaning units. Write each short sentence or phrase as verbatim as possible in the ‘Meaning Units’ column of theExcel spreadsheet.  Do not try to summarize.  You are collecting the “raw data” at this point. Note the story number for which story the sentence or phrase comes from.Would expect perhaps 30-50 total Meaning Units.


2. Fit meaning units into categories and assign category names to groups of similar meaning.  a. Begin to arrange the Meaning Units in the Excel spreadsheetinto groups with similar experiences, ideas or thought patterns.  Continue until the Meaning Units are grouped. These are the indigenous categories that are derived from the raw data.b. Determine an appropriate title for each category and write it in the ‘Category’ column. Strive for using 1-5 words to describe each category.  3. Refine and reorganize. Make revisions on your categories as necessary.

Second Level Coding


1. Now arrange the categories into broader themes, if possible.a. Move the categories around placing those that seem related next to each otherb. Depending on the number of categories you have, you may want to write them on note cards to help arrange them.c. Be creative.  Ask yourself if you could perhaps create an even higher level theme that would appropriately describe a grouping of categories. 2. Record the theme in the “Theme’ column of the Excel spreadsheet.  Expect perhaps 3-4 themes but again, do not get hung up on the number.

Story 1:  My family, comprised of my husband, our two sons, and myself, have a culture stemming from my husband’s and my own backgrounds. The most notable feature of our culture is our Christian faith. Both my husband and I were raised in Christian homes; both of our fathers are also ordained ministers. Besides our Christian faith, my husband and I also value education. Both of our mothers were teachers. We both work in educational institutions.

While both of us are both social at work and somewhat social at church, we are not terribly social otherwise. We tend to spend time together with our sons—going to movies, watching television, etc. One of our favorite family times is going out to eat after church on Sunday. This is something that neither my husband nor I did growing up—then, it was Sunday dinner at home. However, it is a habit that we got into early in our marriage, and it has continued ever since.

We don’t go on exotic vacations. Most of our vacations have been in conjunction with visiting family in other states. We are close to our families, but probably closer to mine, since my husband’s sisters are quite a bit older than he. By contrast, my older brother is younger than my husband. My husband told me once that he was glad that when he married me, he married my family.

Story 2:  My family background would tend to be more European in nature. Although my family has been in this country for close to one hundred years, we still celebrate holidays with a European custom. For instance, Christmas Eve is for close family and we spend Christmas day with the extended family. The food reflects some ethnic flavor as well. 

I come from a working class family that believes in hard work in respect to one’s home and career. I’m the first in our family to receive a college diploma because in former generations survival was more important than education. Education was necessary but higher education was never an option. Honesty always was paramount and our values were not always what have come to be my values.  Respect for one’s elders regardless if they deserved it was implanted in my brain. Children were to be seen and not heard and did not have a voice. 

Our beliefs were firm and unbending and if someone strayed from those beliefs they were wrong. Discussions about politics and religion never went well if someone wasn’t on the same page. If you wanted to keep peace you didn’t disagree.  

Story 3:  Our family culture has been created by years of living out life together, living close to one another, spending virtually all major holidays together, celebrating birthdays together. When I say “family,” I mean extended family…grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, as well as my immediate family. While we don’t all embrace the same Christian commitment, or even the same opinions about most subjects, we do embrace love for each other. When one of us has a crisis, the others in the extended family are there to help and support the one needing it. 

It’s an interesting family scenario, since most of my family does not have a college education, and some do not even have a high school education. This gap of knowledge as well as our differences preventsus from carrying on deep conversations; so unfortunately, most of our visits revolve around superficial discussions. But the love and commitment are still obviously there!

When we gather for our holidays, it’s an all-day affair, from 1:00, the official meal time, until 9 or 10 p.m. The day progresses in much the same manner for each holiday…there is food, food, and more food; TV (often football), clean up, and often a family card game we call “Blitz” that has become very traditional. Holidays are fun, and there is comfort in just being together, being family.

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