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Researchware, Inc.

Simply Powerful Tools for Qualitative Research

HyperRESEARCH: Working Collaboratively

Although HyperRESEARCH is designed to be used by one person at a time, it includes many options for sharing data that allow multiple-researcher teams to work on a study in both the coding and analysis phases.

(For information about exporting data from HyperRESEARCH to be used in other programs, see the "Exporting Study Data" topic in the "HyperRESEARCH Help..." option in the Help menu. You can export code lists, reports, and theory results.)

Sharing study files and source files

To distribute a study file to other researchers—either for additional coding or for analysis—you will need to send the study file along with your source files. For this reason, it’s usually best to set up your study so that all your source files are in a single folder. This makes it easier to send the source files, and less likely that a file will be missed.


Sources in HyperRESEARCH:

When you work with a source file in HyperRESEARCH, the source is not imported or copied into your study file. Instead, HyperRESEARCH saves the name and location of the source file, along with the location of code references for that file. This approach improves memory use and performance, since source files are only opened when they’re needed.

Because of this, it’s important that all researchers who are working on a study all have the same version of the source files. If a source file is coded by one researcher, and then the study is opened by another researcher with a different version of the source file, the code references in that source file may be shifted so that the wrong text is associated with the code.

To prevent this, when you send a study file, make sure to also send the source files you’ve used. If you are sure your colleague has the same version of the source files, you don’t need to send them again, but if in doubt, send any files that you believe might not be identical on your colleague’s computer.

Cross-platform file exchange:

HyperRESEARCH uses the same file format on both Mac OS X and Windows, so you can create a study file using HyperRESEARCH on one platform, then open it using HyperRESEARCH on the other platform without converting or changing it.

In general, source files can also be moved between platforms without changes. There are a few exceptions:

  • Plain text source files can be used on either platform, but certain special characters that are part of one platform’s standard character set but not the other’s cannot be displayed on the other platform. (For example, the not-equals symbol is part of the Mac character set but not the Windows character set, so files prepared on the Mac that have this symbol in them will lack it when opened on Windows.) This does not apply to Unicode-encoded files: Unicode files are fully cross-platform.
  • PICT-format image files can be opened only on Mac OS X systems. All other image formats can be used on either platform without change.
  • Windows Media audio and video files (.wma and .wmv) currently can be used as source files on Mac OS X with the Flip4Mac QuickTime extension. QuickTime currently cannot play these formats on Windows, so these source files cannot be accessed on Windows systems.

Workflow for sending a study:

You can distribute a study to any number of other researchers. To open the study file, the other researcher’s computer must have HyperRESEARCH installed—either the full licensed edition, or the Free Limited Edition.

The process looks like this:

  1. You send the study file and source files to the other researcher. You can email the files, burn a CD with the files and give it to the other researcher, use your local network, or use any other method that’s convenient. Ttip: the "Study Packager" tool in the Tools menu is a great way to pack your study file and associated source files into a zipped archive, which can be "unpacked" and opened via the Open Study Package feature in the Study Packager. 
  2. The recipient opens the study file in HyperRESEARCH. Tip: To simply view the data or create reports, the recipient can use the Free Limited Edition of HyperRESEARCH, without purchasing a license. The Free Limited Edition is available on the Researchware website at However, to add codes or cases beyond the Free Limited Edition’s limits, the recipient must have a HyperRESEARCH license. For more about the Free Limited Edition, see the Free Limited Edition topic in HyperRESEARCH's built-in Help documentation.
  3. The recipient identifies the new location of the source files. HyperRESEARCH stores the location of sources files within the study file, and when the files are moved to another computer (possibly with a different hard disk name, different folder structure, and so on), the location has changed. Tip: The first time the recipient does something that requires accessing a source file — such as clicking a code reference when the View Source box is checked, or creating a report that includes source information — HyperRESEARCH asks where that source file is. Once the recipient has identified the file’s location, HyperRESEARCH checks whether all other sources are in located within the same folder. If they are, the HyperRESEARCH updates the location of all source files.
  4. To make sure that HyperRESEARCH won’t need to ask again for the location of source files, the recipient should choose File Save to save the study file. This ensures that the new location of the source files is also saved.

Sharing code lists between studies

To share a common set of codes among members of your research team or among different studies, first create the code list in your study file, then choose Export List from the Edit Code menu at the top of the Code Book window. This command exports the entire code list, along with the code descriptions, to a text file. (Codes are separated by returns, and each code is separated from its description by a tab.)

To share a common set of codes among members of your research team or among different studies, first create the code list in your study file, then choose Export List from the Edit Code menu at the top of the Code Book window. This command exports the entire code list, along with the code descriptions, to a text file. (Codes are separated by returns, and each code is separated from its description by a tab.)

To re-use the exported list in another study file, open the study file, then choose Import List from the Edit Code menu at the top of the Code Book window. Choose the file you previously exported. The codes from that file will be added to the current study file.

In this way, you can keep a core set of codes and use them in all studies. You can also exchange code lists among researchers who are working on the same study, ensuring that everyone is working with the same list of codes.

Merging study files

Teams of researchers often work on the same study, sharing the coding task among several people. Since coding a source file adds data to your study, if researchers are to share the coding, the team needs to create a file that includes all the coding everyone has done.

In HyperRESEARCH, you use the Import Studies feature to accomplish this task. Import Studies adds code references from each file you designate to a “master file”, which then includes all the coding that has been done. (You have a variety of options to deal with situations where the same code reference appears in more than one coder’s work.) One person should handle this task, merging all the work done so far into one study file, which can be redistributed to the team for more work.

  1. To merge other studies into your current study file, follow these steps:
  2. Collect a copy of the study file from each person who has done coding in the study. (You don’t need to collect their source files, only the study file.) It’s most convenient to put all these study files into the same folder, giving each one a different name. For example, “QDA Study - Jane.hs2” includes the study’s name and the name of the person who worked on this copy.
  3. Open the study file that you want to serve as the master file.
  4. Choose File Import Other Studies. The Import Studies window opens.
  5. Click Add a Study File and select the first file you want to merge. (To save time, if the study files are all in the same folder, you can click Add All Study Files in Folder and select the folder.)
  6. For each study file you add, a section appears to let you control how to handle duplicate cases — that is, cases that have the same name, but not necessarily the same codes. You have three options for duplicate cases:
  • Append Case Names With: include the duplicate case and add a suffix to its name, so you know which file each duplicate came from. Use this option if this file’s cases are completely separate, or if you want to review any duplicates manually.
  • Add Codes to Existing Case in Master Study: merge the duplicate case with the same-named case in your current study file, so there's only one case that has all the code references from both duplicates. Use this option if you’re sure that any case with the same name is just a duplicate of the one you already have, with additional coding which should be merged into a single case.
  • Don't Import Cases With Duplicate Names: skip any case that’s already in your current study file. Use this option if the cases in your current study file should always be taken as the definitive version of the case.

  • Click the Import Study button at the bottom of the window. (The button’s name changes depending on how many studies you’ve selected to import.)

The studies are imported into your current study. Any codes, annotations, and source files that are used in cases you import are added to your current study, so it contains the complete material from all imported cases from each study file.

If you used the Append Case Names option for any of the files, review the duplicated cases to decide which one to keep, or whether to merge the duplicates together. (To manually merge two cases, select all the code references in the first case, choose Edit Cut Codes, then go to the second case and choose Edit Paste. This moves all the code references from the first case to the second case. You can then delete the empty first case.)

    You can now re-distribute this updated file to your colleagues for further work, or continue with the analysis and reporting stage of the study.

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    Do You Know...

    ... that in HyperRESEARCH you can use keyboard shortcuts to code audio and video? Just play your source file while listening and/or watching. When you come to the starting point of a segment you want to code, press Control-[ (if you use Windows) or Command-[ (if you use Mac OS X). Continue playing the segment, and when you reach the end of the part you want to code, press Control-] or Command-]. Your chosen segment is now selected, ready to have a code applied!

    (This tip can be particularly helpful when you have a long source file and it's difficult to place the play head precisely enough at the spot you want to code. Using the keyboard shortcuts lets you code interactively, without fiddling with the controls on the screen.)
    Learn More About HyperRESEARCH™