Dedoose Articles

Article: Setting Up Your Project Data: The Dedoose Quick Start Guide

Hey all of you Dedoosers, while we have excellent resources to help both beginning and experienced users alike, we have found that for some of our not so tech savvy users, getting started can still be a little on the difficult side. As such, we have decided to provide another angle of entry for users. With a more narrative, thoughtful approach paired with the Getting Started section of our User Guide (, we’d like to walk you through setting up and making the most of your project data within Dedoose.

One fairly important thing to keep in mind is that, when it comes to project set up, the order in which different parts of the database are imported or set up doesn’t really matter. That being the case, feel free to skip around this handy help guide. As long as each of the parts is completed you’ll end up having a solid web of connections among all the moving parts of your mixed methods project.

To start, click the Projects tab, hit Create Project, and let’s get going!


First item that is on the list in our Quick Start Guide is our Media section, so let’s start there. Dedoose supports the analysis of text documents, audio, video, images, as well as PDF files. Now that your project has been loaded, click on the Import Data button located in the upper left pane of your home dashboard and you will be presented with all of your options. Then click on the button that corresponds to the particular type of file you wish to import to start the routine. You will be able to import multiple media files all at once, but only if they are of the same type. Also, with larger files like audio, video, PDFs, and some images, the import routine can take some time and uploading a batch can sometime cause a few processing issues. If so, try uploading them again, one at a time. Once you have successfully imported your new media you will see them appear in the Media panel of your home dashboard and listed in the Media Workspace. That was easy enough, right? Then let’s move on! NOTE: If your qualitative data and quantitative data are all in the same Excel file (surveys anyone?) skip to Descriptors below.

media workspace screenshot


Next down the Quick Start Guide we see it is time to deal with our descriptors. A descriptor is the set of responses or values for any quantitative, survey, or demographic fields or questions for a particular case. For example, if you have a transcript for a particular participant, a descriptor would house any demographics as well as any other quantitative data you have associated with the participant case—and, note, cases are not limited to human participants as descriptors can be associated with settings, groups, …and you can also use them to index documents, images and other things (

descriptors workspace screenshot

The easiest way for you to add your descriptors to Dedoose is by importing them directly from an Excel or .csv file. You can use our handy Survey Importer ( whether you have strictly quantitative data in your Excel file or your entire survey with both qualitative and quantitative data. As long as you’ve got it all in the right format, Dedoose will import all of your data in a single step.

Did you import your quantitative and qualitative data separately? If so, you will need to link your media to the appropriate descriptors. This linking will make sure your data set is treated as a unified whole and allows you to take full advantage of our data filtering and analytic features.

Codes and Coding,

Finally, we have arrived at our code/tag tree. Make sure to remember, your code tree or code system will become the conceptual framework or set of key themes you will use to organize the important content in your qualitative media and then communicate all of the results of your research findings. You can think of it as the outline or ‘table of contents’ around which you are going to tell your story.

There are two ways to add codes to your project and you can add them ‘a priori’ be before you begin coding your media or, for example if you work from a grounded theory perspective, in the midst of your excerpting and coding activity. Given that the later is so interrelated to the process of excerpting your text, we are going to be combining the next two parts of the Quick Start Guide here. Creating a Code/Tag Tree and Working with Documents and Excerpting.

First, let’s go over creating your codes before actually coding any content. To do so, you can either import them via Excel or by creating them manually in the system. Go to your code tree, which is usually empty if you are working with a new project. Click the ‘Edit Codes’ icon and then click on the ‘Add Code’ icon. You will see the fields you have available to work with, your title and description, and then you can click Submit when done. Do the same for any other codes you might have in your project and you are on your way. If you have your codes in an Excel file, you can check this out.

Once that is all said and done, you can code your text with your codes using our handy Quick Code Widget.

quickcode widget screenshot

Do you happen to be a Grounded theory enthusiast? Use the Quick Code Widget to create codes on the fly by typing in new codes as you think of them, it’s that easy! To activate, click your keyboard space bar after blocking a section of text you wish to code and the Widget pops open for you. It is a movable, sizable, searchable panel and double clicking on a code in the Widget or hitting the Enter key on your keyboard when a code is highlighted will create the excerpt and apply the code… Nice, easy and fast! Further, typing the name of a new code in the search field and clicking Enter will create the excerpt, add the code to your code tree, and apply the code to the excerpt as well. Excerpt and tag the rest of your qualitative media files and your database is complete and ready for analysis.

Now that you have completed this article, your project and data will be all set up and ready for analysis! Not too bad, right?

Here are an extra resource to help get you started in that direction. Congratulations, you are now on your way to becoming a more experienced Dedooser!

Analysis and Charts,