3. Opening a Document for Editing

Once you have the Coder opening correctly, you can load in a document for editing. You can either:

3.1 Importing Plain Text

  1. Preparing the Text: To edit a document in the Coder, you need to first save it in plain text format. In word processors such as MS Word or WordPerfect, there is usually an option to "Save as Text". Before saving Word documents as text, I usually do a global replace of paragraph markers with two paragraph markers, and then save "with Linebreaks" at the end of each line. This produces an easy to see indication of paragraph boundaries in the plain text file.
  2. Launch the Coder;
  3. Select "Import Text File" from the Opening window. If you already have the tool open, you can also select the Import Text option from the Codings menu.

  4. A window should appear similar to that shown in figure 1 below.

    Figure 1: The Import Dialog

    USING the Import Dialog:
    1. Specify the Text file to load: Click on the "Locate" button and locate the prepared text file.
    2. Specify if you wish to start a new scheme or load a scheme from a file. You have three options here:
      • If you are starting from scratch, and want to make your own scheme, just leave the option "Start from Scratch" selected.
      • If you have previously worked with the Coder, and you want to use the same scheme: select either Use Master: (if the scheme was saved separately from any codings file, see just below), or Copy from:, if the coding scheme is embedded in another Codings file you used previously.
    3. Press the Import button.



    Coding Files and Master Scheme Files

     When you save your codings, they are stored as a Codings file. This includes the text you import, information about where the segment breaks are, the features assigned to each segment, and (usually) the coding scheme used to code it.

     Rather than save the coding scheme in a codings file, it is possible to save the scheme in a separate file, called a master scheme. This may be useful if you have several codings files which all use the same scheme.

  5. Specify Root feature: The program will then prompt you to provide the name the unit that applies to all units you will be coding. If you are coding clauses, type clause. If you are coding moves, type move. You might also use feature names such as process, unit, sentence, etc.
The system will then load the designated text file into the Text Segmentation Interface. Proceed to that section for details on how to segment the text.

3.2 Loading an Existing Codings file

If you have an existing Codings file, you can load it in.
  1. Launch the Coder;
  2. Select "Load Codings" from the Opening window. If you already have the tool open, you can also select the Load Codings option from the Codings menu.
  3. Specify File to load: You will now be presented with a dialog asking you which file to load. The Coder can load two formats of Codings files at present:
The file will be loaded into the program and you can then edit it.

Note that if an cd2 or cd3 format file specifies a particular scheme file to load, and that file cannot be found, (perhaps because files have been moved since the codings were saved), then the system will prompt you to locate the scheme file.

If you can't find the file, or it has ceased to exist, you have problems. You will have to reconstruct the scheme before you can use the codings document. Enter the coder using "Import Text" with a random text file, specify "Create New" in regards to the Scheme file. Edit the scheme to how it should be, and then select the "Save Scheme As" option from the Scheme menu. Then go back to loading the original Codings file and choose that scheme as the scheme.

3.3 Saving Codings

When it comes time to save your codings, you can select Save from the Codings menu. If the codings so far lacks a file name (e.g., it was created by importing text), you will be asked where to save them. Otherwise the document will be saved to the last location. Ensure the codings document always ends with .cd2, else the Coder won't be able to reload it.

You can also select Save As to change the location.

Note that the scheme will be saved either with the codings, or in a separate file, as a scheme master. Select Save options under the Options menu to see which alternative is nominated.

You can also save codings in a tab-delimited  form, useful for importing into spreadsheets or statistical packages. Choose the "Save As" option and change the file type to "tab delimited".

3.4 Moving Between Interfaces

The Coder consists of five separate tools:
  1. The Text Interface: for editing text, and changing the segmentation boundaries;
  2. The Scheme Interface: for creating or modifying the scheme;
  3. The Coder Interface: for coding the text;
  4. The Review Interface: for selecting out sub-sets of the corpus;
  5. The Statistics Interface: for performiing descriptive and comparative statistical analyses on the codings.
At the top of the Coder interface are five buttons, which allow you to switch through the interfaces. The five interfaces will be explained in more detail below.
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