How to Effectively Manage your P-Docs in ATLAS.ti 6.2

The majority of things which might be worth doing are worth doing right. That is definitely true for succeeding at managing primary documents (P-Docs) in ATLAS.ti. Planning carefully in advance, getting helpful advice and following it, could possibly make a huge difference in determining whether you have it right and therefore are successful or go wrong and get left behind. Neglecting to attempt this correctly can have disastrous consequences. You could find yourself confused along the way over which document you are actually referring to in your analysis, perhaps even lost the document which you are initially working on.

Listed below are a trio of tips to protect against that kind of failure, and succeed.

First, you would need to create a new folder on your desktop, and name the folder accordingly e.g. “Project A”. Having done that, copy all your document files into that folder.

You may need to copy all the document files into the single folder “Project A”, or create sub-folder in the “Project A” for instance, “Item A-1″, Item A-2” and so on… and copy your document files into the sub-folders according to their themes, because that will help you to distinguish between articles of different themes.

Just make sure that all the sub-folders are in the main folder “Project A”. Neglecting to get this done may defeat the primary purpose i.e. effective management of your P-Docs in ATLAS.ti. So do not make the error of ignoring this simple yet crucial step, and there is high probability that you will be fine. Yay!

Secondly, you would need to re-name all the documents in the folder to be in the format of [Author, Year]

Of nearly the same importance as the first step above while you’re dealing with managing P-Docs in ATLAS.ti is going to be re-naming all the documents in the folder to be in the format of [Author, Year]. Take it from me, this is simply not something you want to by-pass. It’ll help to trace back the location of the relevant article in the midst of your analysis in ATLAS.ti, as well as good reference when you’re creating output from the ATLAS.ti output function.

In addition, the format [Author, Year] is the most common reference for any type of write-up e.g. “According to Phyllis (2010)…” and not “According to the article entitled ‘Harms of Pollution’…”. within the context of the output from ATLAS.ti later, the output would be easier to understand and digest, as it will reveal something like: “P1 – Phyllis (2010) … pollution is harmful…” On the other hand, if the document is named otherwise, e.g. the title of the document ‘Harms of Pollution’, the output will reveal something like: “P1 – Harms of Pollution … pollution is harmful…”. Here, it can be seen that a simple change in the document name (to be in the format [Author, Year] could lead to easier reference and output along the journey of your analysis using ATLAS.ti.

Thirdly, when you have saved all your document files in the single folder “Project A” or in the sub-folders of the folder “Project A”, you can now assign all the documents to ATLAS.ti as P-Docs by using the P-Docs function in the Toolbar, or by simply using the ‘P-Docs Manager’ function in the Taskbar.

You just need to remember that while you’re managing your P-Docs in the ATLAS.ti, be sure not to edit the document in the P-Docs area in the ATLAS.ti for fear of changes or inconsistencies with the original copy of the document. Although minor changes are permitted to be done in the application, it is best to finalise completely your documents before its assignment as P-Docs in the first place. . It will help with consistency purposes between the original copy of the document and the copy of P-Doc in ATLAS.ti, and that’s a significant element of management of documents. Neglecting to do this could mean that you might lose track of the location of your documents, or changes between the original and the P-Docs copy of the same — and we can probably concur that would be a very bad thing!

As stated earlier, when you aspire to succeed at effective management of P-Docs in ATLAS.ti, then you certainly will need to steer clear of the types of mistakes that might mean you wind up confused along the way over which document you are actually referring to in your analysis, or perhaps lost the document which you are initially working on. What you really would like is to have your documents easily reachable and accessible by a single click, viewable and editable through ATLAS.ti itself, without opening the individual documents for reference, which goal you’ll attain by carefully following the 3 steps outlined above.

But of course, there are many approaches to managing documents, and there is not a single approach that would satisfy all parties. As such, this recommendation remains as a suggestion only, which has been applied before and proven practical to be applied. At the end of the day, you still hold the final say whether to follow any of these suggestions or otherwise.

Good luck with your Management of P-Docs in ATLAS.ti!

About Ani Munirah

Ani Munirah Mohamad is a senior lecturer at School of Law (SoL) and Research Fellow at Center for Testing, Measurement and Appraisal (CeTMA), Universiti Utara Malaysia, Sintok, Kedah, Malaysia. Ani is also a certified senior professional trainer for ATLAS.ti GmbH where she coaches and trains fellow researchers on how to use ATLAS.ti powerfully for the purpose of qualitative analysis and literature review. She may be contacted at dranimunirah [at]
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