Tips for handling open-ends in tracker projects

Updated at September 19th, 2023

Recoding raw open-ends in trackers

Add new codes instead of renaming previous codes

Make sure to add new codes to the existing code frame versus renaming previous codes. Renaming old codes might causes confusion when looking back at the results from previous waves.  


Make sure you're coding values from the current wave

In the past, users have reported changes to the results of previous coding after they code values in the most recent wave. This can happen if there are stray uncoded values from previous waves, and users do not code the values until a later wave. 

Code current wave from simple recode tool

To check that all uncoded values are from this current wave, filter on the current wave and view uncoded responses from the simple recode dialog

You can filter using press to query or global filters.

Code current wave from advanced recode tool

The advanced recode tool does not adhere to filters within the project. If you prefer to use the advanced recode tool, set the current wave's data file as the Primary source for the project so that you only see the current wave's uncoded values. 


Additional open-end topics

Create hierarchical code frames to show different levels of detail

You can use the element attribute to create hierarchical code frames to organize codes based of different levels of detail. 

The element attribute takes the final post-calculation value from one element as the starting value for another element. In the example below, Q7_recoded2 uses the coded results from Q7_recoded as the input to a broader level code frame.

The values in Q7_recoded2 are the already recoded values from Q7_recoded. I then recoded the existing codeframe into broader sentiment categories. 

See Set up open-end questions for easy recoding to learn more.


Display open-ends in a grid that shows both raw and coded values

The view below is Protobi's Verbatim chart. The chart allows you to see the coded categories and the raw open-ends that belong under each code.

See Display open-ends in a grid that shows both raw and coded values to learn more.  

Turn raw open-ends into word clouds

Word clouds are a good way to quickly visualize the main themes in the raw responses without recoding the values. 

The more often a word was mentioned, the bigger the font will appear. You can choose a min and max font size for your chart and right click to select words that you want to exclude from view. 

See Word clouds to learn more on how to set up this chart type.


Append separate open-end data to your project

Often times raw open-end data might be in a separate file or you engaged another vendor to code the open-ends and you want to integrate the coded results into the Protobi project.  

Within Protobi you can add additional data as a new data table and use process code to join the open-end and main survey data files.

The example code below merges the auxiliary open-end data to main survey data in a Protobi data process. 

The left join function merges two files only - the "main" dataset (left table) and the new "OE" dataset with the coded open-ends (right table). The keys are used to match the new data with the rows of data in the left table.

var rows= data["main"] //primary data file
var OE = data["OE"]    //auxiliary data file 
// Keys are used to identify the respondent row to append the new data to 
var keys = ["respid"]
rows = Protobi.left_join(
       rows, //left table (project's existing data)
       OE,   //right table (data to be joined into project)
       keys, //join keys 
       Object.keys(OE[0])  //All variables from the right table


See Join additional data to your project for more info.  

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