I need a way to tag or thematize information and view it!

Hi, I have a non-fiction research project and I’m having trouble finding the right way to organize my research in Scrivener. I have a large volume of notes and information from different sources. I would like to organize the information by source, but then also highlight/tag/subdivide information thematically within each source’s notes and be able to view the information all together by theme. So for example, person 1’s interview and person 2’s interview both have information pertaining to forensics scattered throughout. I would like to mark those bits of information in a way that will let me gather both people’s mention of forensics and look at it together. I feel like this is something Scriv is capable of! Am I just bad at using it? Thank you in advance!

Hi MNHJU, I do similar work myself. In a way Scrivener has so many options to do this it can be challenging to find just the ‘right’ way. The approach I use tends to vary with the project.

One option is to use the highlighting colours, so you would use one colour for each theme, then later use Find > Find by Formatting… to find all the documents that contain text with a given highlight colour. The downside of this is that you will have the whole interview returned in the search, rather than just the text you want, but at least it will be in context.

I tend to go more micro than that by breaking down interviews into many subdocuments by theme. I read through the interview and hit Opt+Cmd+K at each transition between one theme and the next. This breaks the document at that point. I then rename the smaller ‘part’ with an appropriate name. All these ‘parts’ should sit indented under a main folder or document for the complete interview. (I hope that makes sense). You can then use a combination of keywords and labels to mark and keep track of the themes and where they came from. For example, I would probably apply a keyword ‘Interview 1’ to all parts of that interview, then create labels by them. If you then use ‘View > Use Label Color In > Binder’ you’ll quickly be able to see all sub-documents colour-coded by theme. And of course you can search by label or keyword too.

I hope that helps. There are many ways to achieve this sort of end but what works for you can take some experimentation.