The interviews with Rebecca, Grace and Thomas consisted of open questions that focused on the issues surrounding their perceptions of the role of teachers in general, such as the definition of a good Chinese language teacher, their views on classroom teaching, and their opinions on interactions with students. The length of each interview ranged from one to two hours. The interview language was Chinese but, occasionally, the participants also spoke in English or Danish. The interviews were audio-recorded and subsequently transcribed. During the two-year research period, I also completed reflective journals, which documented the data collection and data analysis. I am a native Chinese language teacher working at a Danish university. I completed tertiary education in Mainland China.
I began the data analysis during the data collection process in order to identify trends in the data and to progress from description to interpretation. The first step was to ascribe codes to the reflective journals and interview transcriptions and to identify emergent structures. By reading the journals and transcriptions multiple times, I identified and coded recurrent ideas as expressed by different participants. Coding is recognised as a fundamental approach to handling different stages of textual material by both Strauss (1987) and Strauss and Corbin (1990). After coding the data, I categorised the final codes into themes. Such a process of focused coding helps to identify patterns and themes from a variety of data sets and to establish relationships and connections across data collection methods (Flick, 2009).