Thematizing information in my project

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!

FYI, “Using Scrivener” is for sharing your tips with others. Technical Support is where most people expect to find questions in need of answering.

You appear to be on the Mac, but it really doesn’t matter, as this can be done on both the Windows and Mac versions that are currently being sold (no need for the Windows Beta, in other words).

The first thing you have to do is to break out these interviews into multiple documents where the theme of the interview changes, likely one document per answer (or maybe more documents, if the answer wanders a bit). Then you use keywords. Assign a “forensics” keyword where appropriate, and likewise for any other topics you want to gather in one place.

Then use the project search to search just keywords, and search for “forensics” to gather all of the documents where the interviewees mention that topic.

Is this really the only way of doing it? Interviews or written secondary sources don’t stay steadily on one topic all the time. This will mean each interview is going to be tens of documents, meaning I’ll have literally thousands of documents total. Is it really not possible to discriminate within a document???

Scrivener can handle thousands of documents.

It’s possible to embed subject tags in a document using the annotation features, and then search for those tags. But if you want to be able to pull related information from multiple interviews, breaking the interviews in pieces will be much more effective.


Scrivener may be able to, but I can’t! It will be one-three sentences per document in many cases if I use that method, which really doesn’t seem like workable format, or the way Scrivener is designed to be used. I will try the other method you mention. I’m disappointed there’s no elegant way to do this.

I just tried and it’s not clear to me how to add subject tags using the inline annotation feature. Could you outline the steps?

Insert -> Inline Annotation.

Type whatever text you want. Preferably text that’s unlikely to appear in the body of the text, so ‘&forensics&’ instead of ‘forensics.’

Use the project search to find all documents with that tag.


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For what it’s worth, the method rdale and I described is the one I use. Works fine.