Interpreting the code map

18.03.2019, 13:33

Hi there,

I am somewhat confused regarding the interpretation of the code maps. I tried to find answers in the manual but it did not help.

Let me explain my problem:

The map presents two types of variables: distance between codes and line width.

As for the distance, the manual says that "The more two codes overlap, i.e. the more similar they are in terms of their use in the data, the closer they are placed together on the map."

This implies that the more intersections the two codes have, they will appear closer on the map, right?

But, at the manual also says regarding the lines that connect the codes: "connecting lines between the codes can be activated, which indicate where (and how often) similarities between two codes have been identified".

So, what is the difference between "how often similarities between two codes have been identified" (line width) and the "number of times two codes have been assigned to a segment together".

Thanks a lot!

Version: MAXQDA 2018
System: Windows 10
Posts: 12
Joined: 30.08.2017, 23:51

Re: Interpreting the code map

25.03.2019, 16:38

Hi ariek,

I understand the confustion and hope this explanation helps:

Both, the nearness of and the line width between two codes build on the same piece information: the similarity matrix that contains the amount of co-occurences between the two codes.

The nearness is calculated by the method multidimensional scaling as described in the manual. The line width reflect the similarity directly. (By the way, you can export the similarity matrix by exporting the code map to Excel).

Usually, you need both information to interpret the Code Map correctly and in a complete manner. Let's take the attached Code Map as an example:
The code "Own business struggling" is placed near "Savings", because it has co-occurences with "Loans" and "Pensions", which also have co-occurences with "Saving". But the lines tell you, that there is no direct connection between "Own business struggling" and "Savings".

To sum it up: your sentence "This implies that the more intersections the two codes have, they will appear closer on the map, right?" is right, but you need the lines to get more information, because the co-occurences are projected in a 2 dimensional space.

All the best,

P.S.: The sentence about the line thickness in the manual is not formulated optimally and I will ask to change it.
Code Map with lines
CodeMapWithLines.png (32.98 KiB) Viewed 4548 times
Last edited by Stefan Rädiker on 29.03.2019, 18:13, edited 1 time in total.
Dr Stefan Rädiker
Training, Coaching, Analysis for Research & Evaluation
Stefan Rädiker
Posts: 28
Joined: 12.02.2007, 10:18

Re: Interpreting the code map

27.03.2019, 15:19

Hi Stefan,

Thanks for this detailed clarification. That makes a lot of sense.

So the critical point is "multi-dimensional scaling" vs. bi-lateral scaling.
Two codes may be closer to each other on the map if they are linked through a third (and/or a fourth) code, even though they do not have any intersection.

The width of the line measure only a direct intersection of the two codes.

Posts: 12
Joined: 30.08.2017, 23:51

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