Nvivo trouble-shooting

Thanks to the great team at UTS Graduate Research School who scheduled an  ‘Advanced Nvivo10’ course.

I’ve struggled with getting into Nvivo and attended 2 x beginner courses and watched hours of Nvivo Youtube’s- fed up with just dabbling and thinking I was going to use Nvivo but never getting beyond the basics.  I can see the potential but I’ve never managed to apply it to my actual research.

I wanted a course that could help me (a) trouble shoot (b) move beyond coding in my data (c) help decided if Nvivo is or is not for me.  I emailed our GRS and requested an Advanced Nvivo and wow- they said yes (this inspired me to email the GRS with my “Wish-List” of short courses and workshops)

UTS provides the latest Nvivo version for free to staff and students- so there was no monetory decision in this for me.  I spent about 10 days prior to the course working on Nvivo – importing the data (transcripts, scans, images, etc), coding a few transcripts, playing around with the Modelling function- I also ordered online “Qualitative Data Analysis with Nvivo” by Pat Bazeley and Kristi Jackson 2nd Ed (2013) and got through the 1st chapters.

So here where some of questions that I had at the beginning of the day and the responses from the facilitator:

  1. Many of my reflections were done on a blogspot blog. I have exported this file but I’m unsure how to import into Nvivo. Its a .xml file (i.e I’d like each blog entry as a separate source) Nvivo can’t import .xml blog files – instead, navigate to the blog, and use Ncapture to save the blog as a PDF. This will only save the current posts listed- so any archived posts don’t show- you’ll need to navigate there and use Ncapture again.
  2. Memo’s: I find the idea of just one memo per source counterintuitive. I want to write about themes in memos- from a memo can I have a “see also link” to an alternative source…and what about one memo linked to multiple sources if my memos are a “themed collection of thoughts” (i.e. I want to reflect & write about how multiple participants see theme x- I want to have “Memo Theme X” and then link this to bits in sources that are relevant. Possible?  This wasn’t really answered but I’ve since discovered Memo’s on Nodes (rather than sources). I think this will solve my problem (kind-of)
  3. I have imported a .docx that contains an image (networked chart)- however this does not display properly (blank document only).  Nvivo can’t ‘see’ smart charts unless they are saved as a static image file. 
  4. How to keep “old nodes” as you merge and change them (i.e. for audit trail on yourself, perhaps to see how your thinking developed).  Two options: 1. Export Node List (formats include .xlsx, .xls, .txt, .doc, .docx, .rtf, .pdf, .txt) 2. Take a screen shot
  5. How to see all nodes including those in folders and sub-folders (rather than having to click through the folders).  No way to do this. Suggested creating an upper level folder but this shows the sub-folders so you’ve still got to click through.
  6. How to maintain line numbers when importing transcripts? No- Nvivo doesn’t display line numbers (noted that most other qualitative data analysis software won’t either). This led to a bit of discussion about whether line numbers on transcripts still useful- David Silverman {2013A Very Short, Fairly Interesting and Reasonably Cheap Book about Qualitative Research, 2nd Ed} argues that line numbers are useful. 
  7. If I’ve coded something a sub-node- and decide I want to move the sub-node- is it possible to keep the coding of the higher level node? For example, I have “risk” as a high level node and “biodiversity” under “risk”. I’d like to move “biodiversity” out of the risk tree, but keep everything I’ve coded here in both the new ‘biodiveristy” but also still coded at “risk”.  If you move a child node out of its parent node- it will take all the coding with it. You can either (a) copy the node and then rename it [leaving original node under its parent node and moving the ‘new’ node to where you want it] and (b) go into the child, crtl A (to copy all) and paste into new node.
  8. Can I import a model from Microsoft Word into models?  No- smart charts should be saved as images- they can turn up as images in “Sources” but not in models. Mind-mapping files also do not import into models- just as images in sources
  9. How to get a picture to show in a model when importing a project item? e.g I want the actual picture- not just the title as I want to build my picture around this.  No- would need to export model to another program and layer the image over your mode
  10. Can nvivo work with multimedia located on a external server? Yes and No.  Nvivo crashes when there is poor connectivity with an external server. Safer to keep material for Nvivo on c: drive.
  11. If you are working with multimedia located on a external HDD and that HDD crashes- can Nvivo ‘auto recognise’ when you attach a new device with the same data? No- different devices have different ‘addresses’ – Nvivo can’t recognise that the same file on different devices.

About Sarina Kilham

I'm a Doctoral Researcher at the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney. Trained as a social scientist and with a Masters in Sustainable Agriculture, I'm interested in farmer's experiences of growing feedstock for biodiesel production. My research has focused on biodiesel production in Brazil and Timor-Leste. Also on Twitter @sarinakilham and blogging at thequalitativeresearcher.net
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One Response to Nvivo trouble-shooting

  1. Rahul @ QSR says:

    Hi Sarina,

    Thanks for sharing this info, it’s a great read! We wanted to let you know that you actually can show a picture in a model (re: point 9).

    Here’s how:
    1. Click and select an item in the model.
    2. Under the Home tab, in the Format section, click on the Fill icon
    3. In the window that opens, select the Image field, browse and select the image you wish to import and click OK.
    4. The imported image will be placed on the selected item in the model.

    I hope this helps you! 🙂


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