Question & Answer
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Doing Qualitative Research Using Your Computer:
A Practical Guide
(Sage Publications)

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Where should I store my analytic memos? I am using Excel for my code database?

Detailed Question: I've written memos, marked them with heading styles in the Word code document, and placed them in the identifier/idea source column. My goal is to get every memo, bright idea, extract of documents, etc. into my Excel code database. I thought about inserting 'comments' in the Excel cells for the memos but they're not so searchable or sort-able.

Answer: You did a smart thing when you marked your memos with heading styles. You can create an organized list of all the memos in each Word code document by simply creating a table of contents. This will take about 2 minutes since you have already marked the memos with heading styles. Instructions start on page 183.

There are two approaches to getting the memos into the Excel database.

Approach 1. Copy the memos into the same worksheet you are using for your Level 1 codes. See page 147 for an illustration of the QR database worksheet.
A. In Column A (the Excel "Level 1 Code" column) type in "memo", or "analytic memo", or whatever term you prefer as a memo identifier. Be consistent so you can sort and filter on the term.
B. In Column B (the Excel "idea source" column) enter the location of the memo from in the Word code document using a cryptogram. For a discussion of idea source cryptograms see pages 46, 82-4, 124-5, 159-61.
C. Copy and paste the text of your memo in Column C.

Approach 2. Create a new worksheet for your memos. The creation of a new worksheet makes the most sense when you think your memos will excessively clutter the primary Excel coding worksheet. To populate a new worksheet with memos follow the steps (A., B., C.) described in Approach 1.

If you start with Approach 1 and decide that things are too cluttered, you can always sort the worksheet, and then cut and paste all of the memos into a new worksheet.

Use the Data command from the Excel menu to perform Sort or Filter functions when you want to isolate your memos.


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