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Understand nodes, cases, relationships, and coding

You code your sources to gather material about a topic and store it in a container called a node. As you explore your sources, you select content and code it at a node. When you open any type of node you can see all the references in one place— allowing you to reflect on the data, develop your ideas, compare attitudes and discover patterns.


  • Nodes represent themes, topics, concepts, ideas, opinions or experiences.
  • For example, you could create the node water quality and as you explore your sources (documents, PDFs, datasets, audio, video or pictures) you could code all references to water quality at the node.


  • ​​​​​​​Cases represent your units of observation—a case might be a person, place, site, organization or any other entity.
  • Cases are a special type of node because you can classify them then assign attributes (variables) such as age, gender or location.


  • ​​​​​​​Relationships are where you can record statements or hunches you have developed about how items in your project are connected.
  • When you create relationships between case nodes, you can generate sociograms to visualize and analyze the connections between your cases.

For visualizations of each click here.