QuiRC 2 Help Page


QuiRC stands for "Qualitative Research Coder". QuiRC performs many of the tasks of NViVo, but it is web based. It is a CMS used by psychology researchers. It was developed at SUNY New Paltz. Professor Tabitha Holmes of SUNY New Paltz requested that someone re-create NViVo, a qualitative analysis software that she uses to analyze interviews for the psychology department. Chirakkal Easwaran enlisted part of his Spring 2008 Software Engineering class to create a web-based CMS to perform the functions of NViVo. This is a version of the program that Group 1 developed. The original QuiRC program had its own CMS. Later the functionality of the program was made to work as a Drupal module.

QuiRC is divided into two main parts, the coder page, and the QuiRC support pages. The QuiRC module is not used for publishing information like normal Drupal content. It's used for group research, and presupposes that the information used in the research is sensitive or private. For this reason it's not organized as nodes and indexed like normal Drupal content, and is only available to users with the proper permissions. Those users, of course, can publish content in the normal Drupal method if they have permissions to do that, and communication between coders is encouraged. Content uploaded for a QuiRC project is not saved as a node either.

Below is an introduction to QuiRC. Please find more help information further down on the page.


Coding Projects
In QuiRC there are a few ways that coding can be performed. Essentially a project is created by an Admin User, then user's with coding permission are assigned to the project. A number of documents are added to the project. The coders each work separately on documents in the project. Each coder can view all the documents in the projects that they are associated with. They also have a list of codewords that they can use to analyze the documents. They go through the documents, highlighting portions of the text that relate to each codeword. Individual codewords are available to a coder on all of their documents, so that if they see a theme in one document that is also present in another document, they can highlight material in both documents. As they highlight material they can create notes, both document wide and also specific to a certain passage of text, which they can view later. Administrators for a project can view all coding for a given project made by all coders, as well as their notes and comments, and statistics on a project.

There are also two basic coding schemes, one called Group Coding and one called Individual Coding. In Individual Coding each user develops their own list of codewords. This list is consistent throughout their own coding of the documents in the project, but might be different from another coder's codeword list even though they may be working on the same project. In Group Coding there is one list of codewords set up by the Admin User. This list is shared by all coders in a project and though the coders can highlight their documents in any fashion they choose, they cannot change the list.

There are stages to a QuiRC project. The stages are set by the administrators. The first stage is the 'Start' stage. In this stage documents and users can be added to a project but no coding can be done. The second stage is the 'Active' stage. In this stage a project's documents and codewords cannot be changed, but coders can work on coding the documents. The final stage is the 'Closed' stage. In this stage no more coding can be done and the results of the project can be assessed. An administrator can switch a project from stage to stage, but cannot go back to the 'Start' stage unless there has been no coding on the project (or all coding has been deleted). (...Top)

In QuiRC there are three basic permissions. They are "Coder", "Uploader", and "Admin User". The "Admin User" can also be thought of as "Project Leader". Any user can be given any combination of the three permissions. The "Uploader" can upload or delete documents for a project that has already been created. The "Admin User" can create projects and delete projects, and can associate QuiRC users with different projects. They can also view project statistics and change a project's settings (like weather a project is a group coding project or an individual coding project). They can also view the coding and notes created by coders in their projects. Finally, the "Coder" is a user that can actually code uploaded material. They can highlight sections of text, and keep notes on the highlighting that they perform. (...Top)

Coder: Navigating Projects and Documents
If you have "Coder" permissions you can log in and use QuiRC right away. After you log in, you will see a menu item "QuiRC Pages". After you click that menu item there will be two small boxes in the upper left hand side of the screen. These are expandable menus. They're titled "Documents" and "Projects". Click on either one to expand the list they contain. Clicking on an item in the "Documents" list will bring you to the coder page where you can start coding. Clicking on an item in the "Projects" list will also bring you to the coder page, and it changes what project you are working on. (...Top)

Admin User: Setting Up Projects
If you have "Admin User" permissions you can create and moderate projects with the QuiRC system. Creating a project is easy. Click on the "QuiRC Pages" item on the menu and then click "Create/Delete Project". On the page that is displayed there are two forms. The first form is for creating a project and the second form is for deleting a project. When creating a project it is important to remember that the name of the project cannot be edited after it is set. Also, when creating a project you want to set the option of weather the project will be a group coding project or an individual coding project. You can change this setting later, but there are repercussions to changing this setting after coding has begun. (See the section below on managing "Group/Individual Project Settings".) On the second form there is a list of all the current projects. When you want to delete a project it must be empty of all documents. At that stage you can select the document to be deleted and click the "Confirm Project Delete" checkbox, and then click the "Delete Project" button. The page will refresh and the selected project will be removed from the project list. (...Top)

Uploader: Uploading Documents
To upload a document a project must exist for that document. Users with "Uploader" permissions should click the "QuiRC Pages" menu item, and then the "Upload/Delete Documents" menu item. There are two forms on this page. First select the project that the document is intended to go into, then click the "Browse..." button on the top form. Then select your document in the dialog box that pops up. Finally, click the "Upload Document" button. Text type documents are automatically supported by QuiRC, and if you have the "Antiword" program installed then Microsoft Word documents are also usable. Under some circumstances the upload capability of QuiRC can be disabled by the root user. When deleting a document, make sure to select the appropriate project from the list in the first form. If this step is skipped the document will not show up in the list in the lower half of the page, or if it does, the wrong document might be deleted my mistake. (...Top)


The Coder Page

The "Documents" and "Projects" Menus
After you log into QuiRC there will be an option in the standard left hand menu for the "QuiRC Pages". Any time you click this menu option or any of its sub menus a second set of menus will appear at the upper left portion of the screen. These menus are often collapsed, but they are labeled "Documents" and "Projects". When you want to collapse or expand the menu just click on the words "Documents" or "Projects". Then click on one of the entries in the menu. The Documents menu will take you to any document in the currently selected project. When you click on a document the screen changes to the QuiRC coder page. In the center of the page is a window that contains the text of the document you are coding.

The "Projects" menu is right below the "Documents" menu and is also collapsible. Clicking on the items in the "Projects" menu changes the project that you are currently working on. It also changes the listing in the "Documents" menu. You only see entries in the "Projects" menu for projects that you have permission to work on. When you click on an item in the "Projects" menu the main screen switches to the QuiRC coder page, just as it does for the "Documents" menu, only since you have not yet selected a document the document window remains blank. You can tell what project you are in by reading the text in bold letters in the space just above the Documents menu. (...Top)

The Codeword Menu
When you are coding a document there is a menu on the right side of the screen called the codeword menu. This is a multi level list of all the terms that you are using to code your document. To manipulate the codeword menu you must have the right permissions. Some actions, like creating a new codeword or erasing an old codeword may not be available to you. If you have the proper permissions you can add a top-level codeword by clicking on the box marked "Add Heading". You delete a codeword by clicking on the red "X" just to the right of the actual codeword you want to delete. You rename a codeword by clicking on the padlock symbol to the right of the codeword name. You can make a sub-heading of a given codeword by clicking on symbol to the right of the codeword that looks like a black "L" with an arrow head on the end of it. To see the actual coding associated with a codeword on the list, or to add coding to the coding already recorded, click on the black circle to the left of the codeword name. This circle is a radio button and it is used whenever you select a codeword. There is one more control on the codeword menu. That's the menu management button. With this button you can expand or contract parts of the codeword menu, hiding codewords you're not currently using if, for example, you are working with a long list. This button is to the left of the codeword itself and looks like a minus sign ("-") when the group of codewords in the list are expanded, and a plus sign ("+") when there are codewords in the list that are hidden. There is one of these menu management buttons beside each top level codeword and they allow you to hide only the codewords that are children of that top level codeword itself.

Note: If codewords are very long or there are many sub-codewords, the actual name may wrap around and end up on the next line. This is OK, the menu will still function. If this appearance bothers you, you can change the names of your codewords to shorter ones, or use acronyms, or less levels of codewords. (...Top)

Highlight and Unhighlight
To highlight text in a document, you select the project and document, and then select a codeword by clicking on the black circle to the left of the codeword name. Use your mouse to select text in the document and then click the "Highlight" button at the bottom of the document window. Now you may select other text to highlight. You don't have to select the codeword again unless you want to change which codeword you are working with. Simply select more text with the mouse and click the "Highlight" button at the bottom of the document window.

To unhighlight, or remove highlighting, select the project and document, select the codeword that you are interested in, and select the highlighted text that you want to make "normal". (You should see the original highlighting on the screen.) Now click the "Unhighlight" button and the selected text should become normal. (...Top)

Two Kinds of Notes: Sticky Notes and Document Notes
You can make notes during the coding of your project in two ways. If you want to make a note that references a specific word, phrase, or piece of highlighting, you would use the "Sticky Note" feature. To do this select a project and document, along with the codeword that contains the highlighting that you are interested in adding a note to. Then use the mouse to select the area where the note is to be applied. Then click the "Note" button at the bottom of the document window. A small window will pop up allowing you to record your note. After your note is recorded a small icon will be placed in the document showing where your note is saved. Clicking on this icon will allow you to see your recorded note. When the note is visible you can click on the padlock symbol on the note itself to edit the contents of the note. If you want to delete a note, click on the small trash can icon.

If you want to make a note that pertains to an entire document you can click on the button marked "Show Document Notes" which will show you a screen where you can view and edit a small document that is stored with the document that you are viewing. The document can be hidden again by clicking on the "Hide Document Notes" button. (...Top)

Special Operations: Copy, Paste, Clear, Undo
You can copy and paste highlighting from one codeword to another. You are limited when you do this, as you must copy all coding from the document at once. It can be helpful, however, when doing individual coding, so that you can move an entire codeword's highlights to a codeword at another level of the codeword tree.

To copy and paste, select a project and document and then select a codeword. Click the copy button. The copy button looks like two documents on top of each other and is located above the document pane. The highlighting in the document is now copied. Now select another codeword and click on the paste button. This button looks like a document on a clipboard. The highlighting should now appear under the new codeword. It is automatically saved. You cannot copy and paste between different documents or different projects.

There is an undo button. It will undo one operation. There is also a clear button. The clear button erases all the highlighting under a specific codeword. The undo button effects the clear button's actions as well. (...Top)

More Special Operations: Union, Intersect, Difference, Subtract
These buttons perform the action described in their name. They are generally actions that use two codewords at once in order to complete their action, so to specify the first codeword simply click on the 'select' button in front of the codeword. To specify the second button hold down the control key and use the mouse to click on the second 'select' button. Then click the Special Operations button of your choice. The result of your actions will be placed on the screen. These results are temporary. From there you must copy and paste the results to an empty codeword created especially for that purpose, or replace the content in another codeword that you are not currently using. You do this using the copy and paste functions described above. (...Top)

Printer Friendly View
Options exist for viewing the document that you are working on in a form that is easy for your printer to work with. The printer friendly view button takes you to that view. The highlighting of the currently selected codeword is visible in this view. Make sure to select the codeword of your choice before using the printer friendly view. (...Top)

Admins Only: Choose User To View
If you are the admin user for a project you can monitor the highlighting that coders are working on. Use the dropdown menu at the right of the coder page under the codeword menu to select a user from the list that is a member of your project. Then click the "view" button. The codeword menu will change to one that represents the one the coder is using. You can then select their codewords to view their highlighting. When you are done click the "return" button and you will be viewing your own coding again. While viewing another user's coding the 'Highlight' and 'Unhighlight' buttons will be inactive. (...Top)

Admins Only: Statistics
Statistics are available to administrators in group coding projects. Admins should go to the project and document they are interested in and click the 'statistics' button at the bottom of the document window. Remember that some statistics are sensitive to which codeword you have selected, so choose the codeword you are interested in before clicking the button. The statistics page can be printed out. (...Top)

Admins Only: Overlaps
The overlap page shows the combined highlighting of several coders for a given codeword in a given project. Go to the project and document that you are interested in and select a codeword in the normal way. Then go to the bottom of the document window and select either "Coder Names" or "Overlap Depth". When you click the "View" button you will be given a screen with the current document and color coded highlighting based on your previous selection.

For highlighting by coder name you see a key that shows you each coder in the project and a color that represents their highlighting. Where the highlighting overlaps the colors are combined. For highlighting by overlap depth, the color scheme gets more intense with each coder that coded the same thing. The overlap page only works for group projects. (...Top)

The QuiRC Support Pages

Create/Delete Projects
To create a project you must have administrator privileges. After deciding to create a project the process is as simple as going to the "Create Projects" form and entering the name of the project you want to start. You must also choose the initial "Groupcodes" setting for your new project. This will effect the way that codewords are created. With "Individual" coding set, each coder will create and maintain their own list of codewords. Each one will be independent of the other. With "Group" coding set, all coders will share a single list of codewords that is maintained by the project administrator.

To delete a project, use the "Delete Projects" form, found below "Create Projects". A project can only be deleted by the administrator that created it or the root user, and it can only be deleted if all of its documents have been removed.

There is a form on this page for clearing all coding from a project. It can only be used by an administrator or the root user. It clears the codeword database so that the project's "Stage" setting may be moved back to "Start". This form is similar to the "Delete Project" form in appearance. (...Top)

Group/Individual Project Settings
When a project is in the "Start" stage the "Groupcodes" setting can be changed. To change the "Groupcodes" setting, as an administrator, choose the project you are interested and select either "Group Coding" or "Individual Coding". Then click the "Make Change" button. For convenience there is a list on this page of any codewords already created for the selected project. (...Top)

Set/Unset Project Stages
A project can have any one of three stages. The first stage is the "Start" stage. In "Start" the project is created, all users are added to the project, and all documents are added. The second stage is the "Active" stage. During this stage codewords are added to the project and actual coding is done. The last stage is the "Closed" stage. At this stage all coding is halted and the results of the project are reviewed.

An administrator is responsible for adding coders, documents, and setting the stages. In "Group" coding projects an administrator is responsible for setting the initial codewords also. The stage for a project can be set by selecting the project and desired stage, and then clicking the confirm checkbox and the "Set Project Stage" button. A project can only be switched to the "Start" stage if it has no codewords already created for it. Coding can only take place in the "Active" stage. (...Top)

Upload/Delete Documents
QuiRC can use text documents with the ".txt" extension, or it can use Microsoft Word documents with the ".doc" extension. If you want to use Word documents, you must install a program called "Antiword". Antiword is a program that translates Microsoft Word files to the ".txt" format. It is very helpful when using QuiRC. You can use QuiRC without antiword, but if you do you are limited to using ".txt" type documents that you create yourself. Antiword must be installed by the system admin, or using the installAntiword.sh shell script.

The "Upload" form is fairly simple. First select the project you want to work on, making sure that it is in the "Start" stage. Then click the "Choose" button. A file selection window will open up allowing you to choose the file that you want to include in the project. Then you must click the "Upload Document" button. The file will upload and will show up in the document menu for that project.

The "Delete" form is similar. Select the project from the list at the top of the page, and the document from the list at the bottom, and then click "Delete Document". If you have administrator privileges for that project the document will be deleted. (...Top)

User/Project Relations
Drupal users with QuiRC permissions need to be added to a project one at a time before they can code on the project. This should be done when the project is in the "Start" stage. To add a user to a project, first select the project, then select the user from the dropdown list. Then click weather or not you want to add the user to the project or remove the user from the project. Then click the "Make Change" button. This will change the "User/Project Relations" chart to the right of all of the QuiRC administrative menus.

The "User/Project Relations Chart" is located to the right of all of the QuiRC administrative menus. It lists all Drupal users associated with QuiRC, and all the projects that those user's are in turn associated with. By each user's name is a set of icons that list the user's permissions. These permissions could be "Coder", "Uploader", or "Admin User". Additionally, next to the listed project names is the letter "S", "A", or "C". These letters represent the stages that a project could be in -- Start, Active, or Closed. In this way you can get a picture for what projects are on the QuiRC system, what the state of those projects is, and also what users can work on those projects. (...Top)