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EDUC.7130: Research Writing in Social Sciences

What is NVivo?

NVivo is software designed to manage data collected during research. It covers all kinds of media. With it you can store and sort all your data in one platform, from quantifiable demographic information to qualitative open-ended questions and interviews.

NVivo provides tools to categorize and classify your data. You can automatically sort sentiment, themes and attributes in seconds. It allows you to exchange data with SPSS for further statistical analysis.

With NVivo you can cross tabulate mixed methods data and visualize the results to brainstorm and map ideas, explore connections between project items and discover new paths of investigation.

Ways to Get Started

Since you will be using NVivo to manage your data, try conceiving of your project within NVivo from the beginning. Since projects (and researchers) are unique there is no one 'best practice' approach to organizing and analyzing your data but there are some useful strategies to help you get up and running.

  • Start now - don't wait until you have collected all the data. Import your research design, grant application or thesis proposal.
  • Make a project journal and state your research questions and record your goals. Why are you doing the project? What is it about? What do you expect to find and why?
  • Make a mind map for your preliminary ideas. Show the relationships or patterns you expect to find in your data based on prior experience or preliminary reading.
  • Import your interviews, field notes, focus groups —organize these files into folders for easy access.
  • Set up an initial node structure based on your early reading and ideas—you could run a Word Frequency query over your data to tease out the common themes for creating your node structure.
  • Set up cases for the people, places or other cases in your project.
  • Explore your material and code themes as they emerge—create memos and describe your discoveries and interpretations.
  • To protect your work, get in the habit of making regular back-ups.

    (From QSR Website.)

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