Chapter 19 Using the ROCK for a Qualitative Network Approach

The ROCK standard and the R rock package support Qualitative Network Approaches (QNA). This is an approach to coding qualitative data where instead of using hierarchical code structures, networked code structures are used. This can be useful, for example, when studying causal or structural associations expressed in the data.

Network codes have the form [[from->to||type||weight]], where the last part is optional (i.e. [[from->to||type]] is also valid). The from and to parts contain the code identifiers that end up as nodes in the network. The type part indicates the kind of relationship between these two nodes, and the optional weight part indicates the weight of that relationship.

For example, the following

Coding qualitative data helps you understand the data better. [[coding->understanding||causal]]
And if you understand the data better, you can report your findings better. [[understanding->better_reporting||causal]]
However, coding data is also quite a risky business, for two reasons. [[coding->risks||causal]]
First, coding qualitative data can be quite tiring. [[coding->tiring||causal]] [[tiring->risks||structural]]
But, more risky, second, often it's quite the opposite: you feel energized after a coding bout. [[coding->energizing||causal]] [[energizing->risks||structural]]
And then, if you're not careful, that will keep you coding and coding and coding. [[carelessness->endless_coding||causal]]
That can be dangerous as you can forget to eat, drink, or sleep. [[endless_coding->self_negligence||causal]]

The default settings collapses

By default, multiple edges are collapsed

19.1 Customizing network appearance

You can specify how you want the network to look in a YAML fragment. The structure of the YAML fragment has to be as follows:

      type: causal
      color: black
      style: solid
      type: causal_pos
      color: green
      type: causal_neg
      color: red
      type: structural
      color: black
      style: dashed

Every element describing a type of edge must contain the specification of the type it describes and a list of valid GraphViz edge attributes (see for a list of GraphViz attributes).