lotr meme 1

Ideally, we anticipate all our coding form needs before we start coding. Study authors, also, would ideally include in their reports all the information we will want to code. Neither scenario is particularly likely. While we can’t help you with the second scenario, we can help you change your coding form after you’ve uploaded it into MetaReviewer; even after you’ve started coding.

Editing Coding Forms within MetaReviewer

To edit an existing coding form, select “Manage coding forms and view responses” from your project portal page. From there, you’ll have the option to edit any coding forms that have been uploaded to your project.

MR blog 11

Once you’ve selected Edit, you’ll see a list of all the questions in your coding form. To start editing, click on a question. This will bring up several options.

MR blog 12

First, you can change the question type by clicking the category name in the lower left corner.

MR blog 13

You can also change the text fields (either the question itself or the response options) by clicking on a specific field and revising.

MR blog 14

If your question has response options (such as a dropdown or checkbox question), you can add or remove them by clicking the icons next to the response options. Clicking on the red minus sign deletes an option; clicking on the blue plus sign adds one. MetaReviewer will suggest possible response options to add, such as “Other (describe).” These can be revised to whatever you need once they’ve been added.

MR blog 15

Finally, the icons in the bottom right-hand corner of each question give you the option to duplicate a question (which gets added as the next question in the form), require coders to answer a question by toggling “Required” to on (coders won’t be able to advance to the next page in your form without answering required items), or delete a question altogether.

MR blog 16

The buttons and panels to the right of your questions allow you to add both new questions and new pages to your form. To add a new question, simply select one of the question types from the vertical column of options. This will insert a new question after whichever question you currently have selected. To add a new page to your form, first click on the Pages panel on the right-hand menu. Then click the plus button. You can then add new questions to your new page as you would an existing page.

MR blog 17

Editing before and after coding has begun

You will inevitably need to make changes to your coding form; if you haven’t started coding yet, we advise you to edit the Google Doc templates (see last blog post). Doing so will ensure that you have a record of the coding form and can be exactly sure how the data are handled by MetaReviewer.

However, if you have started coding, using the coding form editor is required. Fortunately, the coding form editor is quite handy. While using the editor, we urge you to keep a few things in mind:

  1. As a general rule, editing question text and instructions won’t cause any issues. Your coders will see the new information when coding but it won’t affect the data record for that coding form.
  2. You can also edit question response options once you’ve started coding. However, those changes will NOT be retroactively applied to existing data. This is something to be aware of when you eventually download your data.
  3. The main issue with editing a coding form once you’ve already started coding concerns adding new pages and items. New pages and items will be given exciting names like item1, item2, and item3 in your data download. This is the main current limitation to editing coding forms once you’ve started extracting data—our system for setting up data downloads just isn’t yet nimble enough to manage big changes on the fly. This is why we recommend trying to have the overarching structure of your form set before you really dive into coding.

We’re here to help

Coding form solutions, like the projects they serve, are going to be idiosyncratic. If you get stuck and aren’t sure what the best way forward will be, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We have tons of experience with breaking coding forms and would love to share the lessons we’ve learned from that experience. Helping researchers figure out synthesis problems is one of our great joys in life.

lotr meme 2