Code by Descriptor Chart

Code x Descriptor Chart

The Code by Descriptor chart allows you to visualize how frequent a code was applied within a descriptor category. This chart is one of the most useful visualizations for analysis, interpretation, and communication of research findings. The chart displays the number of coded excerpts disaggregated by sub-groups within a descriptor field category.

For example, if you wanted to explore how experiences may have differed by demographics or any quantitative data, the code by descriptor chart should be your first stop. The below example displays a research team exploring how their coding differed via the descriptor category “Gender.”

c x d percentage normalized.png

The code "Abusive Conditions" was spoken about by women much more than men in this study. 

You can view the qualitative data behind the bar chart by clicking on a specific bar. This makes the chart a great filtering tool as well to isolate specific examples from women talking about abusive conditions. 

The Descriptor drop-down menu in the upper left corner allows for an immediate reconfiguration of the chart by selecting a different descriptor category to visualize in relation to your codes.


Important Settings and Options

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This chart, along with several others, contain important settings and options in the upper right corner.

Normalize: The normalization function allows for a direct comparison between descriptor sub-categories as if there were an equal number of cases in each category. This option operates by assigning a weight of '1' to the class with the largest number of members (basis category) and then assigns weights to the other classes as a function of the numeric relation between the number of members in the category to that of the number of members in the 'basis' category. These weights are then used to adjust the number of raw counts to accomplish ratio equivalence across class for visualization and the weighted percentage is calculated based on these adjusted. In other words, normalization allows for an "apples to apples" comparison. 

Percentage (%): The ‘%’ check box allows you to choose from a raw count of coded-excerpts associated with each descriptor category to a percentage-based presentation. The below example is a snapshot of the same example chart above with the percentage view and normalization options deactivated. 

c x d raw numbers.png


Sub-code Count: This option (which defaults to ‘off’) allows you to temporarily "upcode" your data, thus including the count of any child/subcodes in the parent/root code. This is a great option for thematic analysis or any analysis in which you want the parent/root code to include a count of all codes nested underneath it. 

The example below present the parent code "Surveillance" and 5 child/subcodes below it. With sub-code count turned "on," the Surveillance code represents the sum of all child codes underneath it, as well as anything coded with just "Surveillance"

c x d sub code count.png


Hit/Miss: the Hit/Miss option (which defaults to ‘off’) changes the chart to display how many pieces of media are represented within each sub-group for the particular code.