Faster Data Entry: Atext


So just thought I’d share a time saving app that has helped me with a number of tasks including data entry. For work I’m currently in the process of entering our 300+ interviews into Refworks so they can be easily referenced and searchable for researchers. Sound like a long and monotonous task? Well it is. It involves typing in a lot of the same data into a lot of black spaces. Luckily I got a hold of the right app at the right time. 

Atext is a cheap text expansion app that gets the job done. I have to enter in common phrases like “University of Florida” and “Oral History Interview” for each interview and where I would have had to toggle back and forth between copying and pasting, I now type “/uf” and “/o” and the text fills in automatically. The app is easily customizable, syncs with dropbox, and you can even insert images and formatted text. I strongly recommend investing in a text expansion app for anyone doing data entry, at $5 it’s more than I wanted to spend but saves me a lot time and has proven to be well worth the price. You can test it out for 15 days free of charge. Windows users have other options as well.


Organizing Qualitative Data

Many of you all are probably starting to collect qualitative data if you haven’t already. One of the biggest problems we face, whether it’s in anthropology, psychology, or any other social science, is how to organize, code, and database all of that information. Today, Austin Kocher, a PhD student in Geography at The Ohio State University,  offers his method of qualitative data organization:

“I used Filemaker Pro to build a simple database that met the research demands. Filemaker Pro was a good fit because it has a low learning curve and can handle multiple file formats, including Word documents, PDFs, and audio files. As a result, I could track everything I needed for each research participant on one screen.”

The software and others like it, such as DevonThink Pro, allow him to create a database of all his contacts and the relevant information collected from interviews.


“I began by creating a database, which is like filing cabinet for everything associated with my project. Next, I created tables, which are like hanging file folders: they hold similar types of information in a standard format … I created fields for each kind of information I needed from organizations – name, address, phone number, etc. – and created a layout. Finally, I created a new record for each organization as needed.”

For the full article, complete with helpful screenshots, check out the post on the Prof Hacker Blog.