Dedoose Blog


Descriptor Series Part 3: Dynamic Descriptors – Mixed Methods Approach to Tracking Change Over Time


Bringing Mixed Methods to your Qualitative Data Analysis

Provide Dynamic Values

When your research calls for speaking to the same participants at multiple time points, you need to quickly and easily identify the phase at which each interview belongs. This is where dynamic descriptor fields come in.  In addition to sounding cool—‘dynamic,’ ‘ooooooh’—this mixed methods component of Dedoose increases research efficiency and effectiveness by helping you quickly visualize, organize, and identify aspects of your data that expose variation across time. For example, how qualitative responses change as a function of the pre/post phase of an experimental study or chronological shift in a multi-time point longitudinal project.

For more information check out our article here!!

A Word to the Wise

From time to time, a user will email us explaining that they made ALL of their descriptors dynamic and then find themselves with quite a mess to clean up. Don’t let messy descriptor data happen to you! Rather, take the time to think through what may change at known time points in your study. What change do I want to track for my analysis and then create a dynamic descriptor for that just those aspects of the study (usually only one or a small number of such fields).

Research projects can, indeed, consist of very complex designs and, subsequently, involve equally complex databases.  As always, we are here to help you better understand the use of descriptors and how both static and dynamic  can help in your work. Descriptors are tough for many qualitative researchers to wrap their heads around when they first start bringing mixed methods elements to their work. Email us anytime at [email protected] and as always follow us on Twitter and ‘Like’ us on Facebook to stay on top of Dedoose developments.

What is it about descriptors that you find most helpful in your project? What is most frustrating? Leave a comment below.