Is this narrative paragraph correct?

Paragraph or Line Numbers? Tips for citation in computer-aided qualitative analysis
Thorsten Pehl
December 07, 2020

Regardless of whether you use paragraph or line numbers, numbering a text helps in two ways. On the one hand, this makes it possible to clearly cite references in the results report. In this way you can transparently document your own results.

On the other hand, numbering also helps when communicating about the text, provided you are working in a team: "Look at paragraph 5, that's exciting ...".

Paragraph numbering is often used roughly for content analysis work, while reconstructive methods tend to use line numbering.

Precision vs. Uniqueness

Line numbers have the advantage that they are much more precise. That is why they are often used in procedures that analyze at the word level. The use of paragraph numbers arose in connection with computer-aided analysis. Depending on the screen size, however, lines are broken differently. So if you look at the transcript on screens of different sizes, the entire text and with it the numbering shifts. If you were to technically prevent a break, there might be long lines that are not completely displayed on some screens.

Numbering paragraph numbers bypasses this problem because paragraphs are always unique regardless of the line break. This means that the paragraph number is a little less precise, but when working on computers it is essential for a reliable reference to the source.

QDA software

When using analysis software such as f4analyse, it is common to work with paragraph numbers. These are automatically inserted by the programs and do not have to be included in the transcript.

In the case of long narrative interviews or passages, however, paragraphs should be inserted manually in the transcript. Otherwise citations are very difficult to understand.

Paragraph numbers in Word

Paragraph numbers can also be created in Word. You simply mark the entire interview and then click on the numbering symbol. The appropriate paragraph numbers appear as numbering.

Line numbers can also be added later in Word. In Word, select the desired line number format using the “Layout” menu command (at least until Microsoft sorts the option somewhere else again ...).