In my previous blog post in this series I talked about the impact machine coding has on the quality of your data. Having a human being actually looking at each open-ended response in your survey may be time-consuming, but the results are hard to argue with - a code scheme that accurately represents the intention of the respondents' comments and a true reflection of the study results.
You've written the perfect list, encompassing every possible response to your survey question. Or so you think. No matter how comprehensive your list is, the range of human experience exceeds it, and that means that sometimes, someone is going to click that little radio button at the bottom, and then reach for their keyboard to type a response in the little box labeled "Other, please specify".