To that end, we publish manuscripts presenting original empirical research and papers that synthesize and evaluate extant research that relate to the psychology of aesthetics, creativity, and the arts.
Normalisation Process Theory (NPT) is frequently used to inform qualitative research that aims to explain and evaluate processes that shape late-stage translation of innovations in the organisation and delivery of healthcare. A coding manual for qualitative researchers using NPT will facilitate transparent data analysis processes and will also reduce the cognitive and practical burden on researchers.
Any researcher who wishes to become proficient at doing qualitative analysis must learn to code well and easily. The excellence of the research rests in large part on the excellence of the coding.
The analysis and interpretation of qualitative data can make an important contribution to research on implementation processes and their outcomes when such data are interpreted through the lens of implementation theory. These data may be found in documents, interview transcripts, or observational fieldnotes. In broad terms, there are two approaches to integrating qualitative methods and implementation theory. First, by explaining phenomena of interest through procedures that identify and characterise empirical regularities or deviant cases in natural language data through processes of induction . Second, by deriving explanations of relevant phenomena through using structured methods of data analysis that directly engage with existing conceptual frameworks, models, and theories [2,3,4,5]. These are not mutually exclusive ways of working, and they are often combined. In this paper, we focus on developing tools for the second approach, in which a more structured approach to qualitative data analysis  was formed into a coding manual that supports researchers using Normalisation Process Theory (NPT) [7,8,9,10,11] in studies of implementation processes.
NPT provides a set of conceptual tools that support understanding and evaluation of the adoption, implementation, and sustainment of socio-technical and organisational innovations. NPT takes as its starting point that implementation processes are formed when actors seek to translate their strategic intentions into ensembles of beliefs, behaviours, artefacts, and practices that create change in the everyday practices of others [8, 11]. The central questions that follow from the application of NPT are always, what is the work that actors do to create change? How does this work get done? And, what are its effects? Because NPT has its origins in research on the implementation of complex healthcare interventions, it does not see the intervention as a thing-in-itself, but rather as an assemblage or ensemble of beliefs, behaviours, artefacts, and practices that may play out differently over time and between settings . It is supported by empirical studies using both qualitative and quantitative methods and by systematic reviews that have explored its value in different research domains [12,13,14].
A generalizable NPT coding manual is of value to researchers from a range of disciplines interested in the ways that implementation processes play out. It provides a consistent set of definitions of the core constructs of the theory, shows how they relate to each other, and enables researchers doing qualitative content analysis together to work within a common frame of analysis (for example, in qualitative evidence syntheses, or in team-based qualitative analysis of interview or observational data). In the future, as software for computational hermeneutics  becomes more widely available and practically workable, a coding manual could also be integrated into the development of topic modelling instruments and algorithms.
Despite their value to researchers, the process of creating rigorous and robust coding manuals for individual studies is rarely described, and generalizable coding manuals are rare. In this paper, we start to fill this gap. We describe the purposes, methods of development, and application of a generalizable coding manual that translates NPT into a more easily usable framework for qualitative analysis.
Translating a set of theoretical constructs into a theory-informed coding manual for qualitative data analysis involves a series of tasks that are, in themselves, a form of qualitative analysis. Qualitative research focuses on the identification, characterisation, and interpretation of empirical regularities or deviant cases in natural language data. The process described here developed organically and opportunistically through these different tasks, as they were conducted, and through discussion amongst authors of this paper. The work of defining key constructs of the theory, assembling these into a framework, and then transforming them into a workable coding manual, was informed by the qualitative content analysis procedures described by Schreier .
Coding is a centrally important procedure in qualitative analysis , but it must be emphasised that it is only one part of a whole bundle of cognitive processes through which researchers make and organise meanings in the data. Here, a coding manual cannot cover all analytic possibilities presented by a qualitative data set. Reflexive procedures for identifying phenomena outside the scope of a theory, developing new codes, and linking them to other explanatory models are always important in theory-informed qualitative work. The act of coding involves descriptive work that is a foundation for the interpretation of data, but it is not a proxy for it nor is the purpose of a coding manual to verify the underpinning theory. The whole purpose of coding, and of linking coding to theory, is to build and inform interpretation and understanding. This is not a discrete stage in data analysis but is continuous throughout .
We describe a set of methods likely to be useful be useful to qualitative researchers in other areas of research who wish to consider developing such manuals for other theories (for example, relational inequalities theory  or event system theory ). A strength of the work was that developing the coding manual was undertaken by an international multidisciplinary team working with personal experience of developing and working with NPT and with other implementation frameworks, models, and theories. This ensured that from the outset the development of the coding manual was closely linked to knowledge about the ways that NPT can be used. An unanticipated consequence of the coding manual being published on preprint servers (ResearchSquare.Com and ResearchGate.Com) was that other researchers started to use it almost immediately and quickly fed back criticism or encouragement. This added value to both the development process and the final product.
This paper describes the procedures by which the NPT coding manual for qualitative research was produced. It also presents the manual ready for use. But more than this, the process of producing the coding manual has also led to the simplification and consolidation of the theory by bringing together empirically grounded constructs derived from multiple iterations of theoretical development over two decades.
Coding manuals are useful tools to support analysis in qualitative research. They reduce cognitive load and at the same time render the assumptions underpinning qualitative analysis transparent and easily shared amongst teams of researchers. The coding manual makes the application of NPT simpler for the user. This adds value to qualitative research on the adoption, implementation, and sustainment of innovations by providing a stable, workable, set of constructs that sit comfortably alongside the well-established model of realist evaluation . It also forms a translational framework for researching and evaluating implementation processes and thus complements other resources for NPT researchers such as the NPT Toolkit and the NOMAD survey instrument [17, 19, 21, 22].
If we assume that there is something called qualitative research, what exactly is this qualitative feature? And how could we evaluate qualitative research as good or not? Is it fundamentally different from quantitative research? In practice, most active qualitative researchers working with empirical material intuitively know what is involved in doing qualitative research, yet perhaps surprisingly, a clear definition addressing its key feature is still missing.
While this increasing centrality [of qualitative research] might lead one to believe that consensual standards have developed, this belief would be misleading. As the methodology becomes more widely accepted, querulous challengers have raised fundamental questions that collectively have undercut the traditional models of how qualitative research is to be fashioned and presented (1995:417).
This glimpse into history leads us back to the lack of a coherent account condensed in a definition of qualitative research. Many of the attempts to define the term do not meet the requirements of a proper definition: A definition should be clear, avoid tautology, demarcate its domain in relation to the environment, and ideally only use words in its definiens that themselves are not in need of definition (Hempel 1966). A definition can enhance precision and thus clarity by identifying the core of the phenomenon. Preferably, a definition should be short. The typical definition we have found, however, is an ostensive definition, which indicates what qualitative research is about without informing us about what it actually is:
In an ideal situation we should expect that one good definition, or at least some common ideas, would have emerged over the years. This common core of qualitative research should be so accepted that it would appear in at least some textbooks. Since this is not what we found, we decided to pursue an inductive approach to capture maximal variation in the field of qualitative research; we searched in a selection of handbooks, textbooks, book chapters, and books, to which we added the analysis of journal articles. Our sample comprises a total of 89 references. 2b1af7f3a8