Coding with Open Ethnographer



This topic is a linked part of a larger work: “Open Ethnographer Manual


1. Introduction

2. General guidelines

3. Codebook standards

1. Introduction

This topic was written to document the coding standards to use in the POPREBEL project. But it is a useful reference of best practices for coding in other projects, as well.

2. General guidelines

  1. Use British spelling for English-language codes

  2. Use lowercase letters (unless capitalised letter has semantic meaning, as in a proper noun)

  3. Use accented letters as normal in all languages.

  4. In non-English codes, display both mother tongue and English code separated by slash (e.g. travail/work)

  5. Ask before merging your codes with any other ethnographer’s codes.

  6. Only edit your own codes (unless given explicit permission to do so by original author). Potentially need to remove ability to edit others’ codes altogether.

  7. Memos will be kept and shared with the whole group (platform tbd).

  8. Every code must have a codebook entry.

3. Codebook standards

Write the codebook in English.

Minimum viable codebook entry:

  1. definition of code
  2. anything future you or your colleagues need to know to use this code properly.

Sometimes necessary:

  1. translation power - how closely the mother tongue code maps onto the English translation.
  2. any other notes on language specificity or notes that ethnographer feels is necessary for other potential users of the code to know.
  3. brief inclusion and exclusion criteria (what it is NOT, could be in reference to another code.

Also helpful:

  1. close but not quite
  2. best exemplar

:green_book: Open Ethnographer Manual

Very nice… the alpha version of the future open codebook! :heart:


Is it ok to transfer it into the “Documentation & Support → Collaboration” category? We try to keep all manuals together in that place. It’s ok to add documents in an early stage.


Yes! I wanted to get in on platform quickly, didn’t think hard enough about categorization. Please do.


Done, and linked from the existing Open Ethnographer Manual. Also made this a wiki, since that’s the convention in our documentation. Don’t be worried about people changing your manual in ways you don’t want – never happened so far, people are very civilized here. Also the wiki revision history is at your disposal.