Obsidian plugin for qualitative data analysis, select text, assign tags, populate canvas

I have been thinking about this for a while now and think with Canvas all the ingredients are in Obsidian to be able to do the following…with a little addition needed which is the idea for this plugin:

In qualitative data analysis, meaning deriving insights from unstructured text data (those might e.g. interview transcripts), what we do in e.g. thematic content analysis method is this:

  1. highlight a section of text that represent something relevant to the research
  2. assign one or more tags to that text to create a snippet
  3. write a summary for snippets from one tag or tag group to create a memo
  4. cluster memo’s together (often visually using a virtual whiteboard) to create higher level groups of meaning to create an insight group (add all memos to a separate insight page)
  5. develop a theory based on the insights

3 to 5 are possible today, 4 with using canvas.

What we lack is the ability to highlight a text section and assign one or multiple tags to it, visually mark that section as highlighted and to populate a canvas automatically with the snippets in groups related to their tagging.

Below a screenshot from a software I am using now called Dovetail (source)


  • rendering a text section highlight in a certain color related to a tag color (which is helpful when reviewing the data)
  • populating canvas with snippets dynamically
  • keeping all content dynamically linked up unto the insight page level

Seeing there are so many academic folks flocking to Obsidian and the already existing tooling for academic research I am almost surprised this doesn’t exist yet but would assume there to be interest in this.

Interested in your thoughts!


The apps Dovetail looks great. Thanks for introducing it

It’s really good, I introduced it to our company and people love it. I would love to be able to do the same in Obsidian, removing the data silo as well as retaining ownership over the data and having the extensibility.