Bibliographical data analysis using Nvivo

By Divya Dhuria & Priya Chetty on July 21, 2017

The previous article types of data analysed in NVivo explained the data processing of literature review using NVivo and this article extends the previous article. However, it is imperative to mention that the steps are not limited to the ones discussed here. Rather this article serves as a summarized form of the vast literature on processing bibliographical data in NVivo.

Concept of bibliographic data

Bibliographic Data is an organized collection of references to publish in the literature that includes journals, magazine articles, newspaper articles, conference proceedings, reports, government and legal publications. The bibliographical data is important for writing the literature review of the research. This data is usually saved and organized in databases like Mendeley or Endnote. Nvivo provides the option to import bibliographical data from these databases directly. One can import EndNote library or Mendeley library into Nvivo. Similar to interview transcripts, one can represent and analyze bibliographical data using Nvivo. To start with bibliographical data representation, this article previews the processing of literature review in Nvivo.

Importing bibliographical data

Bibliographic Data is imported using Mendeley, Endnote and other such databases or applications that are supported with Nvivo.  Bibliographical data here refers to material in the form of articles, journals or conference proceedings. Common factors among all of these data are the author’s name and year of publication. Therefore, Nvivo helps to import and arrange these data with their titles as the author’s name and year of publication. The process of importing bibliographical data is presented in the figures below.

using Nvivo for importing and analyzing bibliographical data
Step1: Click ‘From Other Sources’ in External Data

importing bibilographic data from the local system in Nvivo
Step2: Select the appropriate data from an external folder (e.g. desktop

selecting the name of the sources for bibilographic data anlaysis in Nvivo
Step 3: Select Name of the Sources

managing the data after importing in Nvivo
Step 4: Data selected is presented under the Internals folder in Sources

Coding strategies for literature review

Coding is a process of identifying important parts or patterns in the sources and organizing them in the theme node. Sources in the case of literature review include material in the form of PDF. That means literature review in Nvivo requires the grouping of information from PDF files in the forms of theme nodes. Nodes directly do not create content for literature review, they present ideas simply to help in framing a literature review. Nodes can be created on the basis of the theme of the study, results of the study, major findings of the study or any other important information of the study. After creating nodes, code the information of each of the articles into its respective codes.

Nvivo allows coding the articles for preparing a literature review. Articles have a tremendous amount of text and information in the forms of graphs, more importantly, articles are in the format of PDF. Since Nvivo does not allow editing PDF files, apply manual coding in the case of the literature review.  There are two strategies for coding articles in Nvivo.

  1. Code the text of PDF files into a new Node.
  2. Code the text of a PDF file into an existing Node. The procedure of manual coding in the literature review is similar to interview transcripts.
Open in concerned article > select the text > right click on the selected text> and code in either existing or new Node.
Nvivo provides different coding strategies for literature review
Coding Strategies for Literature Review

Case nodes in the literature review

The Case Nodes of articles are created as per the author name or year of the publication.

For example: Create a case node with the name of that author and attach all articles in case of multiple articles of the same Author in a row with different information. For instance, in the figure below, five articles of the same author’s name, i.e., Mr Toppings have been selected together to group in a case Node. Prepare case nodes like this then effortlessly search information based on different author’s opinion for writing an empirical review in the literature.

preparing case nodes for literature review in Nvivo using author name
To prepare case nodes out of articles of the same author

Nvivo questions for literature review

Apart from the coding on themes, evidence, authors or opinions in different articles, run different queries based on the aim of the study. Nvivo contains different types of search tools that help to find information in and across different articles. With the purpose of the literature review, this article presents a brief overview of word frequency search, text search, and coding query in Nvivo.

Word frequency

Word frequency in Nvivo allows searching for different words in the articles. In the case of a literature review, use word frequency to search for a word. This will help to find what different author has stated about the word in the article. Run word frequency on all types of sources and limit the number of words that are not useful to write the literature.

For example, run the command of word frequency with the limit of 100 most frequent words. This will help in assessing if any of these words remotely provide any new information for the literature (figure below).

Press Query (on Ribbon)> Click on Word Frequency> A dialogue box for  Word Frequency will appear in Nvivo Workspace as shown in Figure 7
using word frequency in Nvivo for literature review
Word Frequency Search for literature Review in Nvivo

Text search

Text search is a more elaborative tool than word frequency search in Nvivo. It allows Nvivo to search for a particular phrase or expression in the articles. Also, Nvivo gives the opportunity to make a node out of text search if a particular word, phrase or expression is found useful for literature.

For example: conduct a text search query to find the word “Scaffolding” in the articles. In this case, Nvivo will provide all the words, phrases and expression slightly related to this word across all the articles (Figure 8 & 9). The difference between test search and word frequency lies in generating texts, sentences and phrases in the latter related to the queried word.

Press Query (on Ribbon) > Click on Text Search > A separate Window for Text Search will appear as shown in figure below
To Run Text Search Query in Nvivo
To Run Text Search Query in Nvivo
Enter queried word (e.g. scaffolding) in search for box > Select Text in Search in Option > Select All Sources in of option > Press OK > Results related to Scaffolding is generated as shown in Figure below:
showing the results for the text query in Nvivo
Results of Run Text Query in Nvivo

Coding query

Apart from text search and word frequency search Nvivo also provides the option of the coding query. Coding query helps in the literature review to know the intersection between two Nodes. As mentioned previously, nodes contain information from the articles.  Furthermore, it is also possible that two nodes contain a similar set of information. Therefore, a coding query helps to condense this information in the form of a two-way table that represents the intersection between selected nodes.

For example, in the below figure, the researcher has searched the intersection between three nodes namely, academics, psychological and social on the basis of three attributes namely quantitative, qualitative and mixed research. This coding theory is performed to know which of the selected themes nodes have all types of attributes. Like, Coding Matrix in the figure below shows that academic have all three types of attributes that are research (quantitative, qualitative and mixed). Where psychological has only two types of attributes research (quantitative and mixed).

In this way, a Coding query helps researchers to generate an intersection between two or more theme nodes. This also simplifies the pattern of qualitative data to write literature.

Press Query (on Ribbon) > Click on Coding Query > Coding Query Window as shown in Figure below
showing results for coding query in Nvivo
Results of Coding Query in Nvivo

Based on the above tools, the literature review can be processed with the help of Nvivo. After explaining all types of data processed in Nviovo, the module now proceeds to unveil further process. This includes data manipulating, processing, representing and summarizing.