Dedoose Articles

Article: Analyzing Focus Group Data

Hi Dedoosers, today we are going to talk about importing and analyzing your focus group transcripts in Dedoose.

How do I code my focus group transcripts?

Once a focus group transcript is in the system, you can code it as you would any transcript, however this would be a mistake as it is not just any old transcript. First, you want to identify how you will be analyzing your documents. If you would like to analyze on the group level for example, coding it as a whole would be ideal since you would never have to break your data up on the individual level. If you would like to analyze it on the individual level however, then this would NOT be the way to go. Just for clarity, let’s go over the two different ways you would code these:

The first method we touched on, coding the document as any other would be used when you only have information at the focus group level and would not want to analyze on the group level.

For the uninitiated, here are the steps to code a document:

  1. Click the Media tab

  2. Click on the document to open it

  3. Highlight the text

  4. Hit the space bar

  5. Type code you want to apply

  6. Hit Enter if the code already exists, Shift Enter if the code does not exist

  7. Repeat 3-6

The second method, which we didn’t touch on at all, would be for focus group transcripts where analysis would be done on the individual level.

First, we would need to create a clone of the document for each member of the group:

  1. Click the Media tab

  2. Click on the document to open it

  3. Click the Edit Document button

  4. Click Clone Media

  5. Click OK

  6. Click Edit Document

  7. Re-title the document, denoting who you are coding for in this version (Something like focusgrouptranscript.docx_MikeY)

  8. Click Submit

Now that those are all created, time to code! Note, you will only code for the individual in question when you open a document. For example:

  1. Click the Media tab

  2. Click on a cloned document, in this case focusgrouptranscript.docx_MikeY

  3. Highlight some of Mike’s text you would like to code

  4. Type code you want to apply

  5. Hit Enter if the code already exists, Shift Enter if the code does not exist

  6. Repeat 3-6

This will ensure your code application counts are unique to the individual and will let you link Mike’s document to Mike’s descriptor.

Why can’t focus group transcripts be linked to multiple descriptors?

Now, before we move to linking your documents to descriptors, we should touch on why these steps need to be done separately. In general, Dedoose can only link a single descriptor to a media file per descriptor set. This is due to the system taking all coding in a media file as a unified set of excerpts, not separating them by participant or any other attributes. If Dedoose were to allow multiple descriptors from the same set be linked to a document, then these excerpts would just be double-counted. NO GOOD!

How do I link my descriptors to my transcripts?

Once we have our files imported and arranged it’s time to link them to the appropriate descriptors. This is essentially the same as linking descriptors in any other scenario and you can do so from several places. Assuming you already have descriptors created for each participant we can do this from the ‘Descriptors’ tab by following the instructions below.

  1. Go to the ‘Descriptors’ tab

  2. Make sure that in the ‘Columns’ window the box next to ‘Linked Media’ is checked

  3. Click on the red or green box under the column ‘Linked Media’ for the desired participant

  4. Search for the appropriate file for that participant and click the ‘Link’ button on the left when you’ve found it

  5. Rinse and repeat for all your media files

But what if I haven’t created my descriptors yet?

Not to worry! As long as you’ve at least established the Set Fields for your descriptors we can also do this from the ‘Media’ tab. Simply follow the next set of instructions here.

  1. Go to the ‘Media’ tab

  2. In the ‘columns’ window make sure the ‘Descriptors’ box is checked

  3. Click on the red or green box for the media file you wish to link to a descriptor

  4. If you already have descriptors created simply look for the correct one and click ‘Link’ and we’re done with this file, however, if you have not created these descriptors we’ll need to do so by clicking the ‘Create and Link Descriptor’ button in the lower right of this window

  5. You should now be looking at a window asking you to input the data for the various set fields, once you have click submit

  6. Now we just need to link the rest of our media by repeating the first 5 steps for each file

While this is the same process to link descriptors in any project, when working with focus groups and cloned documents making sure your titles reflect the individual participant can save a lot of headaches in trying to attach the right file with the right descriptor.

What if I want to analyze on both the individual level and the focus group level?

This sounds like a job for ‘Descriptor Sets’! Anytime we are working with quantitative data from several distinct levels we separate that data into different Sets. You can think of them as folders for the Set Fields, in this case we’ll want a Set for individuals and a set for the focus group itself. While in the previous section we discussed how to attach descriptors to media for participants, this will be slightly different. For our focus groups the data will not be bound to an individual, but be common factors of the group itself. Perhaps the groups had IDs, were done in different regions, or at different times of year. In this focus group set we can place all that data. Once we’ve established the fields of this new descriptor set we can go about creating the descriptors and linking them to our media the same as we did earlier with the individual set. Once we’ve completed this process we have everything we need to analyze our data at both the individual level and the focus group level.

That about does it for our blog on focus group data. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions we would absolutely love to hear them! Always feel free to let us know what you’re thinking by shooting an email to

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Check out our article, "Analyzing your Open-Ended Survey Data" to learn more about analyzing qualitative and quantitative data!