Code Saturation Versus Meaning Saturation

  title={Code Saturation Versus Meaning Saturation},
  author={Monique Hennink and Bonnie N. Kaiser and Vincent C. Marconi},
  journal={Qualitative Health Research},
  pages={591 - 608}
Saturation is a core guiding principle to determine sample sizes in qualitative research, yet little methodological research exists on parameters that influence saturation. Our study compared two approaches to assessing saturation: code saturation and meaning saturation. We examined sample sizes needed to reach saturation in each approach, what saturation meant, and how to assess saturation. Examining 25 in-depth interviews, we found that code saturation was reached at nine interviews, whereby… 

Figures, Tables, and Topics from this paper

What Influences Saturation? Estimating Sample Sizes in Focus Group Research
Six parameters influencing saturation in focus group data are identified: study purpose, type of codes, group stratification, number of groups per stratum, and type and degree of saturation.
To saturate or not to saturate? Questioning data saturation as a useful concept for thematic analysis and sample-size rationales
It is argued that although the concepts of data-, thematic- or code-saturation, and even meaning-s saturation, are coherent with the neo-positivist, discovery-oriented, meaning excavation project of coding reliability types of TA, they are not consistent with the values and assumptions of reflexive TA.
A simple method to assess and report thematic saturation in qualitative research
This work describes and validate a simple-to-apply method for assessing and reporting on saturation in the context of inductive thematic analyses and proposes a more flexible approach to reporting saturation.
Saturation controversy in qualitative research: Complexities and underlying assumptions. A literature review
Abstract Judgement of quality in qualitative has been a contested and controversial issue amongst researchers. Contention has always emanated from the subjective nature of qualitative studies,
The Great Saturation Debate: What the “S Word” Means and Doesn’t Mean in Qualitative Research Reporting
  • S. Thorne
  • Medicine, Psychology
    The Canadian journal of nursing research = Revue canadienne de recherche en sciences infirmieres
  • 2020
What began as a methodological tool for the explicit purpose of formal social science theorizing has deteriorated into the ubiquitous defense for deciding to conclude data collection across the spectrum of qualitative studies.
Can sample size in qualitative research be determined a priori?
It is concluded that, whilst meeting certain practical demands, determining qualitative sample size a priori is an inherently problematic approach, especially in more interpretive models of qualitative research.
Characterising and justifying sample size sufficiency in interview-based studies: systematic analysis of qualitative health research over a 15-year period
It is recommended that qualitative health researchers be more transparent about evaluations of their sample size sufficiency, situating these within broader and more encompassing assessments of data adequacy.
Conceptual and design thinking for thematic analysis
Thematic analysis (TA) is widely used in qualitative psychology. In using TA, researchers must choose between a diverse range of approaches that can differ considerably in their underlying (but often
Confounding issues related to determining sample size in qualitative research
ABSTRACT The debate on determining sample size in qualitative research is confounded by four fundamental methodological issues: the exclusive focus on theme analysis; the diverse and imprecise use of
"We measure what we can measure": Struggles in defining and evaluating institutional review board quality.
Adopting proposed metrics related to participant protection outcomes could help IRBs refocus on their core mission and prevent them from falling further into the broader trend of 'audit culture.


Are We There Yet? Data Saturation in Qualitative Research
Failure to reach data saturation has an impact on the quality of the research conducted and hampers content validity. The aim of a study should include what determines when data saturation is
‘Unsatisfactory Saturation’: a critical exploration of the notion of saturated sample sizes in qualitative research
Measuring quality in qualitative research is a contentious issue with diverse opinions and various frameworks available within the evidence base. One important and somewhat neglected argument within
What is an adequate sample size? Operationalising data saturation for theory-based interview studies
This work proposes principles for deciding saturation in theory-based interview studies, and demonstrates these principles in two studies, based on the theory of planned behaviour, designed to identify three belief categories (Behavioural, Normative and Control).
Naturalistic inquiry and the saturation concept: a research note
Saturation is mentioned in many qualitative research reports without any explanation of what it means and how it occurred. Recognizing the saturation point presents a challenge to qualitative
How Many Interviews Are Enough?
The authors operationalize saturation and make evidence-based recommendations regarding nonprobabilistic sample sizes for interviews and found that saturation occurred within the first twelve interviews, although basic elements for metathemes were present as early as six interviews.
Sample Size in Qualitative Interview Studies
It is suggested that the size of a sample with sufficient information power depends on (a) the aim of the study, (b) sample specificity, (c) use of established theory, (d) quality of dialogue, and (e) analysis strategy.
“Data Were Saturated . . . ”
  • J. Morse
  • Psychology, Medicine
    Qualitative health research
  • 2015
This chapter considers how saturation is defined and the characteristics of research in which it has been attained, and how this fits into the work of others, all of which enables generalization and application.
Sample size in qualitative research.
Determining adequate sample size in qualitative research is ultimately a matter of judgment and experience in evaluating the quality of the information collected against the uses to which it will be put, the particular research method and purposeful sampling strategy employed, and the research product intended.
Evaluating Bang for the Buck
Evaluators often use qualitative research methods, yet there is little evidence on the comparative cost-effectiveness of the two most commonly employed qualitative methods—in-depth interviews (IDIs)
Sampling and thematic analysis: a response to Fugard and Potts
Fugard and Potts’ paper focuses on an issue that is often of concern for qualitative researchers: how many informants to interview, and/or how many settings to observe. However, I think their