Advanced tool to recode text open-ends

Updated at August 8th, 2022

See Advanced text recoding article for more information. 


Protobi has a few features to simplify the process of coding text verbatims. There’s the Recode dialog that’s accessible from the context menu. But there is also the Advanced Recode tool that might be more suitable if you’re coding many open-end responses. 

How to access

First select your element, then choose “Recode (advanced)” from the Advanced button.

This will take you to the advanced recoding page which is separate from the project view, so prior to launching Recode (advanced), make sure all changes are saved in the project. 

Similarly, when you're done recoding on this page, press the "save" button. When you return to the project view, reload the browser to see the changes you made in Recode (advanced).

In the upper left corner, you’ll see the project name and which element you’re recoding. Below that, there is a toolbar and search bar. Each response is represented underneath on its own row.

Search bar

You can start by scanning the responses and searching for some common themes. You can use a pipe to search for more than one keyword at a time, “good” OR “useful”

Add tags to values

Press the checkmark on the toolbar to select all values that match your search. If there are certain values you want to exclude, you can press individual rows to de-select. Then, press the label button to tag these values with a code. 

We recommend using a twitter hashtag in front of codes. This will be helpful to differentiate raw responses vs codes in the project view.

Now that all these responses are tagged, you can clear the search by pressing on the globe button, or you can use The “ESC” key on your keyboard.

You will now see all responses again. But before you do another search, you might want to limit the view to only those responses that have not been tagged. Press on any of these “none” codes to see values that haven’t been tagged.

You can start searching and creating more codes.

You can select individual responses by clicking on the rows. The plus signs are another way to add codes to a value.

You can drag existing codes onto a value. 

Remove tags from values

Pressing "x" on a code in the code pane will remove all instances of a code. Press on a code to see all values that fall under that tag.

Press the “x” on the code to remove it from that value.

On the toolbar there is a toggle button in the toolbar that allows you to toggle formats on or off.

This can be useful with translated open ends. For example, this version of Q7 that has been translated to French. In the recode advanced page for this element, you can toggle between the French translation and the underlying English responses.

Download/ upload to Excel

You can download these raw values and codes as a CSV or excel file. The value columns has all the raw responses, the fmt column contains any formats on the values, and the column with the element key is where you put the codes. 

If you prefer to code the values in excel, you can use the downloaded CSV or EXCEL and code the raw values there. You can use a comma or a pipe and separate multiple codes. Keep in mind, the excel or CSV will need these three columns in order for it to upload properly.

Now you can upload that file you just edited in excel. After you reload, you’ll see any new codes you added. 

You can continue until you have codeframe where each response has at least one tag. This version of Q7 has already been completely recoded. 

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