Importing quantitative and qualitative data in Nvivo for analysis

By Divya Dhuria and Priya Chetty on July 12, 2017

Nvivo software is one of the most suitable software for qualitative data analysis. This is due to its ability to accept different data types emanating from different sources. This data includes information obtained from both primary and secondary sources. Primary data imported in Nvivo includes:

  • written interview transcripts (word documents),
  • survey results,
  • audio & video recordings, pictures,
  • web pages and
  • social media content.

On the other hand, secondary data such as literature review is carried out through annual reports (PDF files) of organisations and bibliographical data is extracted from databases like Mendeley and Endnote. This article explores different sources of quantitative and qualitative data that can be analysed with NVivo and steps to import data.

Importing data from different types of files in Nvivo

To import data from external sources into Nvivo follow:

Open Nvivo Project>Data (in ribbon) (External Data in case of Nvivo 10)
ribbon in Nvivo for importing quantitative and qualitative data
Figure 1: DATA Tab on ribbon for as importing tool for Nvivo

Nvivo allows importing all types of data from the “DATA” toolbar. Import interview transcripts (eg. Microsoft office files) through Documents”, articles such as PDF files from “PDFs”, Survey results (eg. Survey Monkey) from “Survey”, audio files from the icon “Audios”, Picture files in the format of BMP, G/F, JPG, TIF and PNG formats from “Pictures” and video files in the format of MP3, WMA, WAV, M4A, MPG, MPE, WMV, AVI, MOV, QT, MP4, 3GP, MTS and M2TS formats from “Videos” icon.

For more clarity, we can divide the type of materials into two broad sections, which are:

  • Qualitative data includes interview transcripts, articles, audio, video and pictures.
  • Quantitative data includes an excel sheet or direct survey results from survey development portals like Survey Monkey.

Qualitative Data

In this section different types of qualitative data has been explained and the procedure to import data into Nvivo. Different types of qualitative data include documents, PDF, audio and video files.

Documents (interview transcripts)

To import interview data collected through transcripts, add interview transcripts to the “Interviews” to keep it as an appendix (Figure 2). To do this, follow these steps:

Step 1: Move the cursor on Internals >right click and select New Folder > Name the folder as Interviews
Step 2: Interviews>Data (on ribbon) > Documents > Dialogue box will open as shown in Figure 2

importing documents in Nvivo for analysis
Figure 2: Document importing in Nvivo
Step 3: Click on Browse > locate interview transcripts in system> select all the files > Open
Using folder system in Nvivo to import data in document form
Figure 3: Browsing Data from Folders system in Nvivo

After clicking on Open”, one can see that all the transcripts files have been imported and shown in folder “Interviews” (Figure 3).

Portable Document Format (PDF) files

Nvivo also allows importing PDF files from the “DATA” toolbar option. Just like Interviews transcripts are utilized to perform analysis in Nvivo, PDF files are also used to perform analysis of interviews and annual reports in Nvivo. To import these files,  create a subfolder in Internals as literature review through the following steps:

Step 1:Move the cursor on Internals > right click and select New Folder > Name the folder as Literature Review

To import the articles as PDF in the Literature Review folder,

Step 2:Click on Literature Review > click on Data (on ribbon) > click on PDFs > dialogue box will open as in figure 4
internal dialogue box in Nvivo for qualitative data
Figure 4: Import Internal Dialogue Box in Nvivo to import qualitative data
Step 3: Click on Browse, locate articles related to project in system > select all the files > click Open as in figure 5
importing articles for literature review in Nvivo
Figure 5: Articles import for literature review in Nvivo

After clicking on “Open”, view them as PDF files in the folder Literature Review.

Importing audio files in Nvivo

Interviews conducted as audio recordings on social media or other portals are helpful to achieve the project aim. In such cases, import audio files into Nvivo. Either save audio files in the “Interview folder” or make a separate folder:

Move the cursor on Internals > right click and select New Folder > Name the folder as Audio Results
Click on DATA (in ribbon) > click on AUDIO option > browse audio files > click Okay to import

A dialogue box namely “Audio Properties” will open as shown in figure 6

importing audio files in Nvivo for analysis
Figure 6: Step 1 of Audio Property Dialogue for importing Audios

The general page of “Audio properties” contains the basic details of the audio file like “Name of file”, “Location”( in Nvivo), “Size”, “colour”, “created and modified”.

Figure 7 shows the audio page of the Audio Property dialogue box:

second step for importing audio files in Nvivo
Figure 7: Step 2 of Audio Property Dialogue for importing Audios

The Audio page allows to select either “Embedded in project” or “Not embedded”. For this article “Embedded” is selected for analysis so that the audio file becomes part of project items. Select “Ok” to continue further. View the audio files on the saved location.

Nvivo provides additional Media tools to operate audio files in the project. Click on the audio files to open in “Detail View” as shown in figure 8:

additional tools for audio files in Nvivo
Figure 8: Audio file in detail view with additional Media tools in Ribbon

The audio file is open in detail view with its separate list of media tools in the ribbon. “Media tools” for audio can be seen in more details in below figure 9.

additional tools for audio files in Nvivo
Figure 9: Additional Media Tools in Ribbon in Nvivo

Use the tool option “Play”, “Stop”, “Select”, “Stop”, “Rewind”, “Forward” to listen to the audio files. Edit by choosing “Click to edit” (indicated in figure 8) and make notes in the detail view only. A content page will open beneath the audio file (in detail view) as shown in figure 10. Here, simultaneously note down the points recovered in the files while listening to the audio.

detail view of audio files in Nvivo
Figure 10 Audio file in the detail view of Nvivo

After noting the details, save the details of the audio file within the Audio page.

Importing qualitative data in the form of videos and pictures in Nvivo

Just like Audio files, Nvivo also allows importing video files and picture files. In the case of videos and pictures, notes can be made. Figures 11 and 12 represents how pictures and videos look in the detail view of Nvivo.

Importing pictures

importing pictures in Nvivo for qualitative analysis
Figure 11 Video file in the detail view of Nvivo

Importing videos

importing videos in Nvivo
Figure 12 Picture file in the detail view of Nvivo

Importing quantitative data in Nvivo for analysis

The previous section explains different types of qualitative data and the procedure to import data into Nvivo. This section will focus on importing different types of quantitative data in Nvivo

Excel sheet (survey results)

Nvivo also allows importing survey results directly from survey development websites, excel sheets and other text files. The data extracted from these surveys is quantitative in terms and thus can be used for quantitative analysis. Therefore, to import the same, create a subfolder in “Internals” as survey results through the following steps.

Move the cursor on Internals > right click and select New Folder > Name the folder as Survey Results

Since in the case of taking survey results directly from Survey monkey, import the responses through excel sheets only. The process of importing excel sheet in Nvivo:

Click on DATA (in ribbon) > click on SURVEY option > select Microsoft Excel files
using survey icon to import data in Nvivo
Figure 13 Import Survey Results in Nvivo through SURVEY icon in Ribbon

After clicking on “MS Excel”, Nvivo allows browsing excel file from the system. After importing the excel sheet, a survey import wizard will open as shown in figure 14.

importing excel sheet through survey import wizard in Nvivo
Figure 14 Survey Import Wizard Step 1 in Nvivo

After opening the wizard click on “Next” in the lowest right corner of the wizard to go to the next step (shown in figure 14).

In the next step check if Nvivo has identified the data format correctly in the given excel sheet.

For examplein figure 15 above, Nvivo has correctly identified a number of rows used as column headers and order in date. If the Nvivo has not identified correctly, manually change the same using drop-down options (indicated in figure 15).

After that, press “Next” at the lowest right to the wizard.

Importing survey data into survey import wizard in Nvivo
Figure 15 Survey Import Wizard Step 2 in Nvivo
third step for importing data through Survey Import Wizard
Figure 16 Survey Import Wizard Step 3 in Nvivo

After checking the data format, the next step of the wizard allows finding the location of the excel sheet in cases. It also automatically identifies a unique ID for every question through an excel sheet (one can view all the Ids through dropdown). Finally, the wizard asks if one wants to create a new classification or add this information to an existing one. After selecting all the options, again press “Next” in the lowest right corner of the wizard.

using survey import wizard to import data in Nvivo
Figure 17 Survey import wizard for importing data in Nvivo

Afterwards, the next wizard allows users to preview the questions through an excel sheet and see if Nvivo has correctly identified the type of questions asked in the survey.

For example, in above figure 17, the Nvivo correctly identified the questions asked in the imported excel sheet are close-ended. After the preview, we can press “Finish” to import the excel sheet in Nvivo.

Now view the excel sheet in Nvivo at two locations

Survey Results >> Internals >> Sources
Survey Respondents >> Case Classification >> Classification

Having discussed the importing steps of primary data, it is now important to understand the importing of bibliographical data as well. However, bibliographical data is magnanimous and is assistive to perform a review of a vast literature from journals of several years or field.

Outline of Nvivo workspace with three different viewsManaging imported data in Nvivo workspace
Divya Dhuria
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