Basic Terms to Know When Beginning in Dedoose

Dedoose is a great cloud-based program to help you code and organize your qualitative research data anywhere you have internet access. There are a terms that you might recognize used in Dedoose, but keep in mind they may be used slightly differently than you are used to in other courses.


Your media is whatever data you upload into Dedoose. This will most likely involve your interview transcriptions in word doc or PDF format. Although it can include pictures or video.


Codes are the categories you create for your data, think of them like folders or tags. Every project will have different codes! You will create some based on key themes you are looking for in your data, and others based on patterns that you start to notice in it. It is always good to start with a code for “great quotes” that will be helpful to cite when writing your paper. There can also be "child codes," when you want there to be codes inside of codes. Think of this similarly to how you can have folders inside of folders. Maybe, for example, you have a code for "diversity." You can create child codes for types of diversity, such as race, class, and gender.


Excerpts are quotes that you apply codes to. When you code your data, you will highlight certain segments of the text or "media" that you feel are relevant, and then you'll double click on your codes to apply codes to the excerpts.


You will also create descriptors when using Dedoose. Descriptors are bits of information that you want to know about your media, most often about the interviewees and their interview transcripts. You can add descriptors for things like gender, age, or college major. Your descriptors can be anything that you want them to be! They are just meant to help organize your media. You can create a filter so that you can pull up quotes that are just from the women, or just from English majors. There are also charts in the analysis section that will use your descriptors. For example, if you have a education level descriptor, you could see how many times a certain code was applied to excerpts from your interviewees who did or did not go to college.

For more information and tutorials on Dedoose, sign up for our course, we have a whole module that covers the basics of using Dedoose to write your qualitative research paper!