Mixed Methods Importer Tool for HyperRESEARCH Help
The Mixed Methods Importer tool allows you to import data from a spreadsheet or other data table into a HyperRESEARCH study. The imported data may be quantitative, qualitative, or a mix (e.g. results from a survey containing quantitative variables with qualitative content from open-ended questions). HyperRESEARCH uses the data to create cases and a code book, and auto-codes the quantitative variables and qualitative content.
Table of Contents
The Mixed Methods Importer tool for HyperRESEARCH allows you to create a HyperRESEARCH study file from spreadsheets or other tabular data in a variety of file formats. The resulting study file can be merged with the current study, opened in place of the current study, or saved for subsequent use. Tabular data can be imported from files in a variety of delimited text formats, including Microsoft Excel® spreadsheet software format (XLSX), comma-separated values (CSV), "tab-separated values (TSV), and custom file formats. Columns with a finite range of values (variables) can be automatically coded such that their values can be used to filter cases in HyperRESEARCH. Use Filter Cases by Criteria to examine subsets of your data based on the presence or absence of these variable codes (e.g. "Gender" having a value of Male or Female).
This tool works by reading each row of data from your data file and creating a text source file for that row. The automatically generated source file is then coded in accordance with the settings you select. The coding, with links to the source material, is saved to a HyperRESEARCH study file for use in HyperRESEARCH.
Here's what the Mixed Methods Importer will do:
Automatically build a study from your survey data
Create a case for each respondent (or whatever field in the survey data you choose to be used as "Case Name")
Create a text source file for each case, with the survey labels and responses for that case in the text file
Add code groups to your code book (one Code Group for each survey data field you flag to be treated as a "Filter") (e.g. "Employment Status")
Add Codes containing the variable responses to your "Filter" data fields to your code book (e.g. "Employment Status - Employed") and to the relevant code group
Apply codes linking to the relevant portion of the text sources
Review the help topics for this tool and try importing your data to a new study before merging it with any existing study to make sure you have the many options this tool offers set the way you want for your research.
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Before you import data from a spreadsheet or other tabula data file, you must prepare the data file to ensure a smooth import.
Requirements for a Mixed Methods Importer Data File
Your data file must have:
- First row containing headers or labels - these will be added to your Code Book as codes (e.g. "Gender," "Employment Status," "Question 3 Comments," and so on)
- One column must contain uniquely identifying contents (e.g. "Respondent 01," "Respondent 26," "CaseID RBD147," etc.) - these will be used as case names in your HyperRESEARCH study
- Other columns may represent variable codes (values you can filter on, e.g. "Male" and "Female" for the column labeled Gender) or qualitative data (e.g. responses to open-ended questions)
Your data file must not have:
- Any rows above or below the data that contain headers, footers, copyright information, or anything else that's not part of the data you wish to import
- Split or merged columns, rows, or cells
- Multiple sheets
File Size: There is a practical limit on the number of cells the Mixed Methods Importer can process. The maximum size of a data file the Mixed Methods Importer will process is 16MB. But there may be performance issues based on the number of codes and cases generated with very large files.
Keep the following in mind when preparing your data file:
- Each row of data will be represented by a Case in your HyperRESEARCH study
- Each row of data will also result in a separate text source file, containing the values of the cells in that row merged with the relevant column headers
- The column you check as "Case Name" when specifying import options should contain unique values in each cell (e.g. a respondent id)
- Each column you check as "Filter" when specifying import options will generate a separate code in your Code Book for each unique value represented in that column (e.g. "0-5 yrs,""6-9 yrs," etc. from the "Age Group" column)
- Each column you check as "Ignore" when specifying import options will not be processed and hence will not appear in the automatically generated text source files
- Each column you do not specify as Case Name, Filter, or Ignore will be coded as qualitative data in your HyperRESEARCH study
We recommend you review your data file thoroughly prior to importing. If you have a large data file, start with a small subset of your data to determine whether you need to make any changes to the data for smoother importing into HyperRESEARCH.
The "Data File" section of the Mixed Methods Importer window allows you to specify the data file to import. The progress bar shows a visual representation of the progress the Mixed Methods Importer is making in reading and processing the data file.
Select Data File... Click this button to select your tabular data file. You can import data in the following formats: Microsoft Excel® spreadsheet software (XLSX), comma-separated values (CSV) file format, or tab-separated values (TSV) file format. Delimited files using other delimiters may also be opened using custom file settings.
At the bottom of the Open File dialog box, there is a pull-down menu to specify the format of the mixed-methods or survey data you wish to work with. The following predefined file formats are available:
Excel 2007+ files: This is for data files saved in the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet application's "XLSX" format (files with the ".xlsx" file name extension). Note: If you have files saved in the older XLS format (files with the ".xls" extension), please convert them to the newer XLSX format prior to importing them into HyperRESEARCH.
CSV files: This popular delimited text file format uses commas to separate the columns of data. Note: If a column contains a comma that is not meant to be read as a separator, the comma should be enclosed in double quotes (").
Tabbed files: This format uses a tab to separate columns of data. TSV files can use such file extensions as .txt, .dat, .tsv, and others.
Custom File Settings: Choose this file format if your data file does not conform to the other file formats in the pull down menu.
If you choose the "Custom File Settings" option in the Select Data File dialog box, HyperRESEARCH will present a Custom File Settings window where you can specify the settings needed to import your data. You will need to know what delimiters the file uses to separate columns and rows, as well as "encapsulation" delimiters (see below), prior to importing your data.
Field (Column) Delimiter: The field delimiter is the character used to mark the separation of one column or field from another (e.g. comma, tab, or other character) Choices are:
- Other (enter the appropriate character - defaults to ";")
Record (Row) Delimiter: The record delimiter is the character used to specify the end of a row of data or line or record. If this is a carriage return, line feed, or 2-character set of a carriage return and a line feed, these will be automatically detected. If your data uses some other character to indicate an end of line or record, select Other and enter the character.
Encapsulation Delimiter: Some data fields may contain the field delimiter (e.g. a comma or a tab) as part of the field's value. The encapsulation delimiter is the character used to enclose fields containing field delimiter characters. For example, in the CSV format, a column containing a comma is encapsulated in quotes. The standard encapsulation delimiter is a double quote ("). If your data uses some other character to encapsulate field delimiter characters, select Other and enter the character.
Encapsulation Escape Character: The encapsulation escape character is used to indicate that the encapsulation delimiter (e.g. a double quote (")) should be treated as a normal character. For example, if you had a column with the text [Sally paused, and then reflecting, said "Hello" softly.] you would need to enclose the text in double quotes (to preserve the commas as text rather than as field delimiters). The text contains double quotes (around "Hello"), which must be 'escaped' (read as text characters rather than as encapsulation delimiters). In the Microsoft Excel CSV format, the encapsulation escape character is also a double quote, so the column text would be exported as ["Sally paused, and then reflecting, said ""Hello"" softly."] Note the doubling of the quotes to indicate they should be treated as regular quotes and not to contain the text containing commas.
Important Note: The Customer File Setting option will allow you to open any file regardless of file extension, but if you have not preset the delimiters correctly the data will not be read correctly.
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Once the Mixed Methods Importer has read the file you selected (see Mixed Methods Importer - Select Data File), information drawn from your data file will appear in the table in the Import Setup section.
The Import Setup table has six columns. Each row in the table represents a column of data from your data file.
The first three columns in the import setup table identify the following:
- Column: The numerical id of the column in your data file each row of information in the Import Setup table represents
- Header Name: Drawn from the header of the column in your data file (e.g. "Respondents," "Age Group," etc.)
- Code Prefix: The prefix the Mixed Methods Importer will use to create codes from your data. The default prefix is taken from the column header (e.g. "Employment Status"). You may change the Code Prefix by double-clicking on the current code prefix and editing it.
The final three columns in the Import Setup table ("Filter," "Ignore," and "Casename") provide options for you to specify how you wish the Mixed Methods Importer to treat the values in each column in your data file.
Important Note: Any data column you do not specify as "Filter," "Ignore," or "Case Name" will be treated as qualitative data (see below).
Case Name: You must select one column that contains unique values (e.g. respondent names or other identification) as the "Case Name" column. Indicate this column by clicking on the Case Name radio button.
Here's what the Mixed Methods Importer will do with the column chosen as the "Case Name" column:
- Use the value in the Case Name column to name the case associated with the information for a given row of data
- Use the value in the Case Name column of a given row as the name of the text source file created for that case
Example: If you have a column containing unique IDs (e.g. "RESP321") or names (e.g. "Sarah Jones") identifying the survey respondents, that is the column you would select as "Case Name."
Note: HyperRESEARCH cases require unique names. When parsing the data file for the column marked as the "Case Name" column, the Mixed Methods Importer may encounter duplicate values in subsequent rows. Duplicate names will have a number appended to make them unique (e.g. "Sarah Jones2").
HyperRESEARCH also requires that case names include at least one alphabetic character. Case Name values that use only numbers (e.g. "26") will have the letter "N" placed before the number, or, optionally, any character(s) you specify for a Case Name Prefix (see Mixed Methods Importer - Import Options).
Filter: Columns that contain "quantitative" data with a limited set of responses (not open-ended) will be treated as variable codes if you check the corresponding box in the "Filter" column in the Import Setup section.
Here's what the Mixed Methods Importer will do with columns marked as "Filter:"
- Create codes with a prefix based on the column header combined with each unique value in the data set (e.g. "Gender - Male" and "Gender - Female" or "Age - 20-30" and "Age - 31-40")
- Add that new code to the study's code book
- Apply these "variable codes" to the relevant cases with links to the corresponding information in the text file created for each case by the Mixed Methods Importer
These codes can then be used to "filter" your HyperRESEARCH cases into subsets based on the variable codes applied (e.g. "Age 21-25").
Note: You can use the "Separate Code Prefixes" pull-down menu in the Import Setup section to specify the character used to join the code prefix to the values for columns marked as "Filter." Dash ( - ) is the default.
Ignore: Data columns that you do not wish to import can be ignored by clicking the checkbox in the "Ignore" column of the import setup.
Qualitative Data: Any data column not flagged for "Filter" or "Ignore" will be treated as qualitative data. Leave both "Filter" and "Ignore" blank for any column containing responses to open-ended content or other unbounded data.
Here's what the Mixed Methods Importer will do with these qualitative data columns that are not marked as "Filter," "Ignore," or "Case Name:"
- Create a code based on the Code Prefix (e.g. "Question 3 Comments") and add it to the study's code book
- Apply that code to each case with links to the corresponding information in the text file created for that case by the Mixed Methods Importer
These codes can then be used to retrieve the open-ended responses in your survey or otherwise used for further analysis of your data.
The Import Options section of the Mixed Methods Importer offers a number of options for importing your data.
Create a broad code for each filterable code: You can choose to have a broad code created for each filter code. If you check this option, a broad filter code (e.g. "Gender") will be created and applied to the relevant source material, in addition to the more specific 'Gender-Male' and 'Gender-Female' codes created and applied for data marked as "Filter."
Place filterable codes in groups: Check this option to have all filter codes created by the Mixed Methods Importer placed into code groups in your code book. Code groups will be named based on the code prefix with the term "group" added (e.g. "Gender group") and the more specific filterable codes created (e.g. "Gender - Female" and "Gender - Male") will be assigned to that code group.
Separate code prefixes from values with a: Use this pull-down menu to specify the character used to join the code prefix to the values for columns marked as "Filter." Dash [ - ] is the default, but you may choose Colon [ : ], Period [ . ], Space [ ], or Underscore [ _ ] instead.
Empty Values: This option allows you to choose how to address missing values in your data. Choose "Do Not Code" (the default) if you do not wish non-responses to be coded by the Mixed Methods Importer. Alternatively, you may replace missing data with a character string of your choice (e.g. "No Response" or "N/A" or "missing data"). When you choose "Replace with:" and specify a word or phrase, that phrase will replace the missing data within the text file created for that case.
Apply Codes To: You can apply filter codes to just the value for the corresponding column (e.g. "Female") or to the label (column name) and value (e.g. "Gender - Female") in the generated text source files for each row of your data.
Case Name Prefix: You can add a prefix for the value in whatever column you designate as the source for Case Name (e.g. "Respondent: "). This prefix is only added to the case names, not the names of the corresponding source files created by the Mixed Methods Importer.
The Import to a Study section of the Mixed Methods Importer presents two options for what the importer will do with the automatically generated study once the import procedure is complete.
Save the imported data to a study and merge with the current study: Automatically runs the "Import Other Studies..." command from the File menu to merge your survey data with the current study. Cases with the same name will be combined. Note: If you wish to use the full capabilities of the Import Other Study command (including determining what to do with duplicate case names or importing multiple studies at once), select "Save the Imported Data to a Study File" instead. You can then use the Import Other Studies command from the File Menu and select the appropriate study files to merge. See the "Merging study files" section of Working Collaboratively for more options on merging studies.
Save the imported data to a study and open it in place of the current study: Closes the current study and opens the study created from your survey or mixed methods data. Note: Be sure you have saved any changes to your current study first!
When you have selected your settings for each of the sections in the Mixed Methods Importer (Data File, Import Setup, Import Options, and Import to a Study) you are ready to import your data as a HyperRESEARCH study file!
Click the "Import..." button to process your data.
You will see a window titled "Save the Import as a Study." If you wish, you may edit the "Save As: [default study name].hs2" field to name the new study file (be sure to include the ".hs2" file name extension to identify the file as a HyperRESEARCH study file). Choose a location to save the study file (save it somewhere you can find it again!).
Here's what the Mixed Methods Importer will do when you click "Import:"
- Create a folder to contain the automatically generated source files
- Create a text source file for each case (one file for each row of data in your data file), with the survey labels and responses for that row of data copied to the text file
- Add code groups to your code book (one code group for each survey data field you flag to be treated as a "Filter") (e.g. "Employment Status") Note: code groups are not created unless you check the "Place filterable codes in groups" option in the Import Options section)
- Add codes containing the variable responses in your "Filter" data fields to your code book (e.g. "EMP STAT - EMPLYD") and to the relevant code group (if applicable)
- Create a case for each respondent (or whatever field in the survey data you choose to be used as "Case Name")
- Apply codes linking to the relevant portions of the automatically generated text sources to each case