Open Ethnographer Prototype Evaluation

For the Spot the Future project, @Matthias had developed a prototype of Open Ethnographer that @Inga_Popovaite used for ethnographic coding right here on It is documented in “Research methodology: the Spot The Future data model and workflow ”, section “Coding on Edgeryders” and the comments.

For the start of this project, we wanted to do an evaluation of the Open Ethnographer Prototype to inform the future development. This wiki documents this.

Using Open Ethnographer RPT during "Spot the Future"

According to Inga, who was the only serious user of the Open Ethnographer RPT software during its deployment for “Spot the Future”, the most significant problems with this prototype have been:

  • Codes have to be developed up-front; it would save 30% time to be able to "code as you go". Which means the ability to merge codes and to reorder them in the hierarchy.
  • It was a lot of effort to switch back and forth between the code creation UI and coding UI; it would ideally be all in one page.
  • Online coding was challenging due to "third world Internet" in Georgia.
  • With the colored triangles used for highlighting codes in the prototype, it was not possible to see immediately what text is coded how, esp. for nested codings of longer passages.
  • Coding smaller snippets before coding the encompassing larger one would make the small snippet codings disappear.
  • Some few codes were not included in the exported RQDA file.
  • Downloading and analysis in RQDA was basically ok as a process, though having the analysis tool online and synced automatically to the coded data would be even better.