Generating an Annotation for Transparent Inquiry (ATI) Data Supplement

This page offers instructions for preparing and depositing an “Annotation for Transparent Inquiry (ATI) Data Supplement” accompanying a digital manuscript. More information about ATI can be found here. ATI builds on Active Citation, an earlier approach to achieving transparency in qualitative research developed by Moravcsik (e.g., 2010, 2012a, 2012b, 2014a, 2014b, 2014c, 2016). A detailed discussion of the intellectual logic underlying ATI can be found here.

An ATI Data Supplement is introduced by an “ATI Data Overview.” The bulk of the Data Supplement consists of a set of digital annotations containing analytic notes (discussing the generation and analysis of qualitative data and how they support textual claims/conclusions), source excerpts (and translations as needed), and the data sources themselves (when possible).

Please read and follow the file naming conventions below.

ATI Data Overview

The ATI Data Overview, of approximately 1,000 words in length, describes the research process in a holistic way. The Data Overview should not repeat information that is already included in the main text or notes of the manuscript; instead, use the Data Overview to supplement that information. If your manuscript has a bibliography or list of references, please include it in the Data Overview.

Typically, the Data Overview consists of three parts: (1) a description of the processes used to collect information and sources and to generate the data employed in the manuscript; (2) a description of how the data were analyzed to produce results; (3) an indication of the “logic of annotation” employed.

  1. Data generation: this part discusses and justifies decisions and choices you made in selecting, sampling and citing evidence, and considers the impact of those decisions and choices on the analysis. For instance, what instruments and procedures were employed to collect information and generate data? What relevant information was not or could not be consulted?
  2. Data analysis: this part offers an overview of how you analyzed the data and generated results, offering information beyond that offered in the manuscript about the analytic choices you made and why you made them.
  3. Logic of annotation: How did you choose particular passages of the manuscript for annotation? Where analytic notes are included, what is their main function (e.g., do they offer additional context, reflections, or interpretation; evaluate sources; or elucidate links between evidence and claims)? How did you decide which sources to provide and not to provide (e.g. were decisions based on sources’ accessibility, centrality to your argument, or the ethical or legal constraints they are under)?

The Overviews from these two QDR data projects serve as good examples:

These are examples, not templates. The content and internal structure of your Overview should be appropriate for the manuscript and data it accompanies.

ATI Annotations

ATI Data Supplements consist mainly of annotations. You can annotate any footnote, endnote, in-text citation, or textual passage. QDR encourages you to accompany your annotations with as many of the data sources that underlie the passage in the text being annotated as possible, in particular if the sources are primary and/or hard-to-obtain. Make clear to what portion of text you wish the annotation to be “attached.” If you wish to annotate a footnote, indicate that the annotation should be attached to the four or five words preceding the footnote number in the text, plus the footnote number.

Each annotation includes a combination of one or more of the following elements:

  • A full citation to the underlying data source(s) mentioned in the annotated portion of the text (when a full citation was not included in the bibliography), and, where useful, additional location information;
  • A source excerpt: typically 100 to 150 words from a textual source (e.g., an excerpt from the transcription for handwritten material, audiovisual material, or material generated through interviews or focus groups);
  • A source excerpt translation: if the excerpt is not in English, a translation and indication of its source;
  • An analytic note: discussion that illustrates how the data were generated and/or analyzed and how they support the empirical claim or conclusion being annotated in the text;
  • Data source: the file name(s) of the corresponding data source(s) linked to the source(s) themselves when these are digital and can be shared ethically and legally.

QDR is currently developing a simple process for annotating manuscripts and depositing ATI Data Supplements. In the meantime, you can annotate a manuscript using Word comments, PDF comments, Word links with bookmarks, and PDF links with bookmarks (using LaTeX and similar markup languages). If you would like to submit your annotations in a different format, please contact QDR. QDR will convert annotations deposited in any format to a standardized format.

Below are some examples highlighting various functions that annotations can serve. The examples are not exhaustive: you should use annotations in whatever way makes your research more transparent. Click on the thumbnails to open a full-size image of the annotation in a new tab.

Sample annotation providing access to and an excerpt of a source document (corresponding to footnote 2 of Jack Snyder’s Active Citation Compilation, available on QDR). Format: Word comment.

Sample annotation containing a source file name, analytic note describing its relationship to claims in text, as well as a brief relevant excerpt and translation (corresponding to citation to footnote 35 in Sam Handlin’s Active Citation Compilation, available on QDR). Format: Word Bookmarks

Sample annotation describing use of cited evidence, while not providing access to source (corresponding to citation to CSHR 2006 in Jessica Rich’s Active Citation Compilation, available on QDR). Format: PDF Bookmark using LaTeX.

Sample annotation containing link to source file – an advertising poster. The analytic note describes its content as well as its function as evidence for claims in the text (corresponding to citation to citation to CISA 2007 in Veronica Herrera’s Active Citation Compilation, available on QDR). Format: Word comments

Sample annotation containing extended excerpt from author interview, while not providing access to full transcript (corresponding to citation to Casimiro 2010 in Jessica Rich’s Active Citation Compilation, available on QDR). Format: PDF Comments.

Sample annotation containing source file &endash; an advertising poster. The analytic note describes its content as well as its function as evidence for claims in the text (corresponding to citation to citation to Oapas 2008d in Veronica Herrera’s Active Citation Compilation, available on QDR). Format: Word Bookmarks

Depositing an ATI Data Supplement to QDR

Deposit the data overview (as a documentation file), the annotated manuscript in Word or PDF format, and the accompanying data source files to QDR following the regular deposit process.

The annotated manuscript will not typically be available to QDR users. Rather, QDR staff extract the annotations from that document to create the ATI Data Supplement, which is published by QDR

For submitting AJPS replication files, please follow our instructions for conversion, then submit the extracted annotations to the AJPS Dataverse following the instructions provided by the AJPS. Please contact QDR should you require assistance in the conversion process.

File Naming Conventions

The PDF of the data overview should be named:

The annotated Word or PDF document of the manuscript should be named: <author>_<date>_<manuscripttitle>.pdf (or .docx when using Word)

The data source files should be named in the following way; please make sure that the filename corresponds to the filename you have listed in the annotation:

<author’s last name>_<one-word description>_<date of original publication/creation>_<page range>

  • <author’s last name> refers to your last name. For two authors use firstauthor_secondauthor, for three or more firstauthor_etal
  • <one-word description> of the source might be its original author and/or its type (e.g., Jonesinterview). Number or otherwise distinguish multiple sources of the same type (e.g. interview1 or interviewA)
  • <date of original publication/creation> refers to the publication date of a source or the time the data were collected (e.g., in the case of an interview)
  • <page range> (optional) – refers to the page/page range from the source and is only necessary when several excerpts from the same source are used. Separate page ranges with an underscore. Prepare separate files containing relevant passages/pages for each excerpt.

File name examples:


Please avoid using spaces, special characters (e.g., & : * . –) (underscore is acceptable), and file name distinctions relying on capitalization in filenames.

Data Availability Statement

As you publish an ATI project, we recommend that you include the following text in the first footnote or a comparable location. Journals will often be familiar with including such text under the label "data availability statement". QDR will provide you with the two links to include.

This paper uses Annotation for Transparent Inquiry (ATI), an approach to openness in qualitative scholarship. Access to the annotations, as an overlay to the digital article, can be found here: [Link] Access to a stand-alone copy of the annotations and underlying data are available here: [Link]