Transana lets you search for Quotes, Clips, and Snapshots that contain specified Keywords or text. Searches are named, and, once created, they appear in reverse chronological order under the Search node in the Database Tree. This lets you keep track of what you’ve searched for and what you found when you searched. You can save the results of a Search as a Collection, but Search Results are not otherwise permanent because searching is essentially an exploratory activity and not all of your searches will provide interesting results. You can also save search specifications to re-use as your analysis proceeds.

Quick Search


A Quick Search in Transana is one designed to show all data items that have been coded with a single Keyword.

To perform a Quick Search, right-click a keyword in the Database Tree in the Data window. Choose Quick Search from the pop-up menu.

Transana creates a Search Result with the same name as your Keyword under the Search node. You will see all the Quotes, Clips, and Snapshots associated with that Keyword.

Notice that the Collection structure you have set up is preserved, which can be very helpful in understanding the Search Results.

Search Results act very much like Collections. You can safely rename or drop individual elements within the Search Result without affecting your underlying data in any way. This allows you to safely explore a Search Result, dropping false positive data items without removing them from the underlying database, to determine if the results are meaningful.

Right-click a Search Result item and choose Search Collection Report from the menu. This will generate a Collection Report based on the Search Results. A quick scan through the report will confirm that all of the elements in the report contain the Keyword used to trigger the quick search. Close the Search Collection Report when you are finished looking at it.

Standard Search


Standard searches allow you to do more complex searches, searching for keywords and text using Boolean logic.

Perform a standard search two of the Keywords you have created following these directions:

Right-click the Search node in the Database Tree in the Data window and choose Search from the pop-up menu. Transana opens the Boolean Keyword Search dialog box.

Under Search Name, create a good, descriptive name, as it is easy to lose track of your process when doing multiple searches in a single analysis session without this.

Click one of your Keywords from in the Keywords list.  Click the Add Keyword to Query button.

Click the AND button under the label Operators in the dialog box. Notice that because your search specification is currently incomplete, the Search button at the bottom of the form is disabled.

Double-click another Keyword in the Keywords list in the dialog box to add it to your search. (Double-clicking is equivalent to selecting a Keyword and clicking the Add Keyword to Query button.)

You will see that the Search button is now enabled. Transana’s search dialog is designed to only allow legal searches. If the Search button is not enabled, it’s because there is an open parenthesis, a dangling Boolean operator, or some other mistake in your search specification.

Notice that there is a Collections tab in the Search interface. This allows you to specify the inclusion or exclusion of specific Collections during the Search process. Thus, Collection membership can act like a Keyword during Search.

In the lower left hand corner of the search dialog box, there are buttons that allow you to load, save, and delete search specifications. While we will not use these now, they can be useful when you wish to design a search you will use repeatedly as your data evolves.

Click Search to begin searching.

Transana displays the results of your search in the database tree.

When a search displays Clips, you can review them by right-clicking the Search Result node and selecting Play All Clips.

Take a moment to notice what is not included in these search results. Transana has returned only data items that include both of the Keyword specified in the search. Had we used OR instead of AND, for course, we would have gotten very different results.

Quick Searches and Search Results

Quick Searches and Search Results

This ScreenCast describes the use of Quick Searches in Transana and demonstrates the functionality of Search Results in Transana. (3:36, Transana 3.00 shown.)

Full Searches

Full Searches

This ScreenCast describes the use of Full Searches in Transana, including demonstrating Transana’s Search Interface, saving Search Specifications, and convert Search Results to Collections in Transana (11:06, Transana 3.00 shown.)

Advanced, but Important:
Boolean Basics and the Use of Parentheses in Searches

This ScreenCast shows exactly how Searches work in Transana, demonstrating the basics of boolean logic, describing the use of parentheses, and illustrating an issue that all researchers should be aware of when doing Searches. (6:28, Transana 3.00 shown.)

Advanced Topic:  You can search for individual words or exact phrases in the text of your Transcripts Transcripts using the Text Search field on the Search dialog. You can also combine Keyword and Text search terms as appropriate.
Advanced Topic:  The Boolean operators used in Transana’s search are subject to an “order of operations” just like other mathematical operators are. This has important implications for searches which you need to understand if you will ever use more than two search terms. See Search in the Transana Manual for more information.

Search Matrix

Bring new levels of understanding to your analysis with an organized visual display of multiple search results. Transana’s Search Matrix tool allows you to define sets of individual searches in rows and columns and then see how they interact.

To use the Search Matrix, right-click the Search node in the Database Tree and choose the “Search Matrix” menu option. You can then add rows and columns to the Matrix. Each cell is a Search Result set, which works just like the Transana Database Tree.

You can load individual elements from the Search Matrix in Transana’s main interface to help you stay close to your original data. You can also run a variety of reports on the cells of the Matrix to facilitate comparisons.

Transana’s Search Matrix

This ScreenCast demonstrates Transana’s Search Matrix tool. (4:23, Trasnana 3.31 shown.)

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