Social Research Glossary


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Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2012-17, Social Research Glossary, Quality Research International,

This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 29 May, 2017 , © Lee Harvey 2012–2017.


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core definition

Decoding refers to the unravelling of a message.

explanatory context

The term is mainly used in conjunction with semiological analysis.

analytical review

Chandler (2011) states:

In the context of semiotics, 'decoding' involves not simply basic recognition and comprehension of what a text 'says' but also the interpretation and evaluation of its meaning with reference to relevant codes.

associated issues


related areas

See also



Researching the Real World Section 5


Chandler, D., 2011, Semiotics for Beginners: Encoding/decoding, last updated 10 November 2011, available at , accessed 21 January 2013, page not available 17 December 2016.

copyright Lee Harvey 2012–2017

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