Importing sources and creating new documents and memos in Nvivo

By Divya Dhuria & Priya Chetty on July 13, 2017

The source is a menu to save research material including interviews, surveys, pictures, audios and any other type of files. Thus, this article will discuss in detail examining the following methods to import sources into Nvivo:

  1. Internals
  2. Memos
  3. Externals

Internal folder to save all the sources

Internals whereby the internal folder is used to save all the research materials. For instance, in order to conduct a qualitative study on higher education assessment in Delhi Schools, save all the research material in an internal folder. Hence, the research material broadly includes:

  1. Interview transcripts (word files)
  2. Articles (Pdf files).

In order to proceed further, maintain three internal folders that will contain three research components:

  1. interviews,
  2. focus groups and
  3. literature review.

The figures below show how to import data into the internal folder.

First, create subgroups in the internal folders based on each data collection method, namely interviews, focus groups and literature review. In order to create subfolders, press right-click in Internals and click on “New Folders. A box will appear called “new folder (Figure 1). Enter Name and description; for interviews, write Interview in name and interview transcript in description and press Ok.

This allows to import sources from interview transcripts
Figure 1: Folders to feed interview transcripts

Similarly, create a folder for focus group and literature review by just right-clicking the Internal option and then add folders. See figure 2 and 3 for reference.

focus groups transcripts can be imported using this option
Figure 2: Folders to feed Focus Group transcripts
Review articles can be imported in Nvivo using this option
Figure 3: Folders to feed Literature Review articles

Adding new subgroup

In the second step, to add a fourth subgroup called Research Administration, whereby documents related to ethical approval before interviews, statement of participation, emails and other research administration documents are stored. The research administration folder is added in a similar manner as above.

To import data

In the Import Data, interviews transcripts are added to the Interview folder to have all the documents related to interviews in the Nvivo project. To start with:

Interviews > Data (on ribbon) > documents (dialogue box will open as in figure 4)
Import source data in Nvivo using this option
Figure 4: Data import in Nvivo
Browse (locate interview transcripts in system) > select all the files > Open (as in figure 5)
using this option one can select the specific folder to import source data
Figure 5: Selection of Concerned Data from Folders saved on the desktop

Import data for literature review

Similarly, for the literature review, steps for importing articles in the Literature Review Subfolder are as follow:

Literature Review>Data (on ribbon) > PDFs(dialogue box will open as in figure 6)
importing data from literature review which will analyzed using Nvivo
Figure 6: Data import of literature review and data import
Browse (locate articles related to project in system) > select all the files > click (Open as in figure 7)
Importing data from particular folder in local disk
Figure 7: Data import from folders saved in desktop


  • Similarly, excel sheets, pictures, audio and video can be imported in Nvivo. Option “Datasets” in Ribbon in figure 8 imports excel sheets, “Audios” import audio files, “Video” import video files and “Picture” import picture files.
using this option one can import the audio/video data for analysis
Figure 8: Audio/Video/Spreadsheet Data import
  • Also to create additional documents or memo to keep track of the research. For example, a document in Research Administration can be maintained to note the day-to-day progress of the project. For that, follow the steps below:
Research Administration folder > CREATE (Ribbon) > Document.


The memo contains observations, insights and interpretations to import or create a Memo in Nvivo to organize the Memo. It can also be used to attach sticky notes to one or the other participant’s interviews. To create a memo, follow the steps below:

Memo > CREATE (Ribbon) > Memo Option (dialogue Box will appear similar to figure 9)
memos in Nvivo
Figure 9 Memos


External represent sources that cannot import into a project such as printed books or other articles that are available in hard copies. Thus, this type of material is saved in Externals. Therefore, to create External folders, follow the steps below:

External > CREATE (Ribbon) > External > (dialogue box will appear similar to figure 10)
Externals in Nvivo
Figure 10: Externals

In the name section, write the name of the book or author while in the Description section. Type the summary of points in the books or article. Further, by clicking on the external tab, another page of the dialogue box will appear (Figure 11).

Nvivo also provides an external tab to import sources and analyze data
Figure 11: External sources tab within Externals

Mention the file link, weblink or other sources of reference that cannot be imported into Nvivo.

Priya is the co-founder and Managing Partner of Project Guru, a research and analytics firm based in Gurgaon. She is responsible for the human resource planning and operations functions. Her expertise in analytics has been used in a number of service-based industries like education and financial services.

Her foundational educational is from St. Xaviers High School (Mumbai). She also holds MBA degree in Marketing and Finance from the Indian Institute of Planning and Management, Delhi (2008).

Some of the notable projects she has worked on include:

  • Using systems thinking to improve sustainability in operations: A study carried out in Malaysia in partnership with Universiti Kuala Lumpur.
  • Assessing customer satisfaction with in-house doctors of Jiva Ayurveda (a project executed for the company)
  • Predicting the potential impact of green hydrogen microgirds (A project executed for the Government of South Africa)

She is a key contributor to the in-house research platform Knowledge Tank.

She currently holds over 300 citations from her contributions to the platform.

She has also been a guest speaker at various institutes such as JIMS (Delhi), BPIT (Delhi), and SVU (Tirupati).