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Simply Powerful Tools for Qualitative Research

HyperRESEARCH: Creating and Using a List of Standard Codes


If you or your research group has a list of standard codes that you want to use, you can create a master code list to import into every new HyperRESEARCH study file you create. You can use these standard codes along with additional codes for the specific study you're working on. This Technical Note will show you how to use such a standardized list.


You and your research group may want to use the same list of codes in more than one study file. You can use such a code list to:

  • easily re-use the same set of codes for multiple related studies
  • distribute an updated or expanded list of codes when several researchers are working on the same study
  • use a standard set of codes for a department or working group, with other, study-specific codes added to it as needed
  • avoid inconsistencies such as variant spellings

Your code list can be used either as a basic set (that can have more codes added for each study file), or as a way of maintaining a single, constant list of codes across several study files.

Preparing and exporting the codes in HyperRESEARCH

If you already have a list of codes that you've prepared in a HyperRESEARCH study file, you can easily export this list to a file. The file can then be used in other study files.

1. If the Code Book window is not already visible, choose Codes > Code Book to show it.


2. From the "Edit Codes" menu at the top of the Code Book window, choose "Export List".

3. Enter a name for the exported list, then export the file.

The code list file is created on your disk in plain text format.


If you don't want to make any changes to the code list, skip to "Importing the Codes Into a Study".

If you want to change the code list by hand, you can open it in any text editor.

Important:  HyperRESEARCH requires that the code list be in a specific format, and modifying the code list by hand may cause problems importing. When possible, it's better to make any changes to the Code Book in HyperRESEARCH itself, export that list, and then import it into other study files unmodified. This avoids any possibility of making format errors.

Advanced Topic: Modifying the codes in a text editor or spreadsheet

If you like, you can change the exported file before using it, adding or deleting codes and code descriptions, and adding or changing group assignments. The format of the code list file is as follows:

  • Each code or group is on a separate line.
  • Each line consists of four items separated by tabs:
    • The word "code" or "group"
    • The group or groups to which the code belongs, if any, separated by vertical bars ( | )
    • The code description (if there is one)
  • If a code does not belong to any groups, it is designated as belonging to the universal group, "All Codes".
  • If the code description includes multiple lines, the lines are separated by a linefeed (ASCII 11).

To make changes to the exported file:

1. Open the file in any word processor or text editor.


2. Each code is on a separate line of the file.

  • To remove a code, delete the entire line it's on.
  • To remove a group, delete the entire line it's on. (You must also remove the group assignment from any code that is assigned to that group.)
  • To add a code, add a new line, type the code's name, then press the Tab key, the word "code", then Tab, then the phrase "All Codes", and finally another Tab.
  • To add a group, add a new line, type the group's name, then Tab, the word "group", then two Tabs.
  • To add a description, enter it on the same line as the code or group, after the last Tab character.

Important: When entering group names, be absolutely certain not to misspell the words. Even an extra space in a group's name will result in problems importing the code list! It's best to copy and paste group names to avoid any mistakes in typing the name.

3. When you're finished, save the file. (If you are using a word processor such as Microsoft Word, make sure you save the file in "Plain Text" or "Text Only" format. If you're using a spreadsheet program, the file should be saved in Tab-Delimited Text format.)

Distributing the code list

Since the code list is a single text file, you can distribute it to other team members in any way that's convenient:

• Place it on a server for download and reference.
• Email it to members of your research team.
• Distribute it on CD-ROM or package it with other files.

Importing the codes into a study

As the last step, the researchers will import the list into their study files. To import the code list into a study file:

1. Open the study file that you want to import the codes list to (or create a new study file).

2. If the Code Book window is not already visible, choose Codes > Code Book to show it.


3. From the "Edit Codes" menu at the top of the Code Book window, choose "Export List".

4. Choose your code list file in the dialog box that appears.

The codes from the code list file are added to your study file, and appear in the Code Book.

You can add a code list file even if you've already begun coding in your study file. The import process simply adds the new codes from the list, without deleting any codes that are already in the study.

You can even use this method to replace an outdated list of standard codes with a new one. If an imported code has the same name as a code that's already in the file, the imported code replaces the old one. (Use this feature to add or replace code descriptions for existing codes.)

Future Options

This modest enhancement was added in response to a customer request. If you're part of a multi-person research team, you need features that are adapted for complex study setups. If you have suggestions for other ways we can enhance HyperRESEARCH for your workflow and environment, please feel free to send us a note with your feedback and we'll see if we can include it in a future version.

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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.)
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