Hierarchical factors in Causal Map

(This section is about implementing hierarchical coding in the Causal Map app. See also the previous section on hierarchical coding in general.)

Creating labels

Factors can optionally be expressed as part of a hierarchy by using semi-colons.

For readability, it is usual to leave a space after the semi-colon, but this makes no difference to the functionality.

Organising your factors using the Factor Editor

In Causal Map, the process of organising the factors into this kind of hierarchical structure can be conveniently carried out in the Factor Editor tab which is a simple text editor where you can edit any labels you have created during coding. It lists the currently visible factor labels, sorted alphabetically.

This editor has many features such as global search and replace, and multiple cursors, which make it easy to rapidly edit many factor labels.

Using this panel you can also combine several factors into one and split one factor into several.

Here are a lot more tips for using the Factor Editor.


Here it is easy to “move” an (incorrectly labelled) factor

Health behaviour; understanding of germ theory

to something like

Health knowledge; understanding of germ theory

simply by retyping it: replace “behaviour” with “knowledge”.

Or you might want to “move” your factor somewhere else entirely, relabelling it as

Real-world knowledge; health; understanding of germ theory

… without worrying whether the higher-level factor Real-world knowledge even exists elsewhere in your file.

Additional calculated fields

When you use hierarchies, the app adds some fields to the factors table which help you do searching and filtering with hierarchical ideas.

One such field is top_level_label which gives just the top level for each factor.

Additional functionality when searching for and filtering factors

The same principle applies in the Search and Filter Factors box: you can see factors you have already used but also implied higher-level factors (like Health behaviour) and other factor components, beginning with a semi-colon (;).

How can I view just the factors where I have applied hierarchical coding?

Sometimes you only want to use hierarchical coding for a few of your factors. To view just those, you could create a mini map including just the factors which you have hierarchically coded (and one step up or down from them), by searching for ; in the factor labels, but then zooming the factors out to just see the top level.


… which is equivalent to