Merge INTERACT Data Files

Presume you have multiple coders that collected their observations in different data files, or you collected your observations in separate data files per video. Analyzing such data becomes a lot easier, if all observations (belonging to the same study) are merged into one big file! That way you can visualize all data at once and get comparative statistics within a single table.

IMPORTANT: Before you merge your data files, make sure you can Identify all DataSets and Groups, without the original file name present: Just enter meaningful descriptions into the Set and Group lines before you start the merge!

Verifying the video references per Set upfront also saves you trouble afterwards.

Merging Method

INTERACT offers multiple ways to merge your documents. What suits you best, depends on the structure of your files, your study and their storage location.

You can choose between the following merging methods:

Append document data - To merge any number of documents into a single new file, keeping the original file structure of each file. All files are merged as a whole, one after another.

Merge DataGroups - Merges any number of documents into a single new file, based on the order of the DataGroups. All DataSets of Group n, across all selected data files, are inserted into the same Group n of the new file. You need to make sure that the order of the DataSets is the same throughout the selected data. Different Group descriptions are copied successively into the description field of Group n in the new data file.

Merge DataSets - This routine merges the contents of the DataSets from multiple files into a single new file. The Events of each DataSet n, across all data files, are inserted into the same new DataSet n. You need to make sure that the order of your DataSets is the same throughout all selected files. This routine is helpful if observations for the same session were logged in separate documents.

Merge DataSets and consolidate Events – This routine is especially useful, if you plan to merge time sampling Events from multiple documents, covering the same video but holding different Codes. Just merging those Events from various DataSets across different documents probably results in multiple Events covering identical time frames. The Consolidation of Events merges all time-identical Events into single Events, without losing any coding! This results in a denser and easier to read data structure. In fact, this option combines the previous option Merge DataSets with the additional command Consolidate Events in one pass. The Consolidation can be seen as “lossless compression of events”.

Start Data Merge

After identifying the applicable merge method, you need to select the files to be merged.

Merge Closed Data Files

To merge data files that are currently closed AND stored within the same folder:

  • Click Start - Files - Merge > and choose the merging method that suits your needs.
  • Select all the files you want to merge within the default Open file... dialog.
  • Confirm your selection by clicking Open.

Merge Open Files

You can also merge a selection of currently open data files:

  • Confirm your selection by clicking OK.

In both cases, a new INTERACT data file named 'Compilation' is created, containing all data of the selected data files. The structure of the new file depends on the merging method you used. The original files are left untouched.

TIP: Calculating Kappa and applying routines like the Contingency analysis or the Co-occurrence filter and even renaming Codes and/or Classes, can be performed much faster, if all your data is stored in one single data file.