Nvivo’s interface and its utility in analyzing qualitative data

By Divya Dhuria & Priya Chetty on June 12, 2017

Nvivo is a computer assisted qualitative data analysis software (CAQDAS) used for organizing and analyzing unstructured data-set. Unstructured data sets are typically a heave of text documents containing information in not any pre-designed manner. Nvivo’s interface offers data management toolkit and broadly supports both qualitative and mixed research methods. Unstructured texts such as:

  • interviews,
  • open-ended questionnaires,
  • articles,
  • journal articles,
  • web content
  • and even audio, video and image data are analyzed using Nvivo.

It is available for both Windows and Macintosh operating systems.

Additionally, Nvivo’s interface has greater data handling capability with the versatility of holding different types of data (texts and numbers). With its newer update by QSR international, Nvivo also allows the imports of Tweets, Facebook Post and YouTube comments and data can be coded. Therefore, flexibility in management of various types of data is its key contribution to the world of analytics.

An introduction to Nvivo’s interface

Nvivo comprises three separate windows with the ribbon above containing options for editing. The ribbon represents Quick Access toolbar (Just like MS Excel). Nvivo also contains Source Window, Internals window and detailed window.

Nvivo's interface after opening the software
Figure 1: Outline of opening page of NVivo

Individual windows

Nagivation view off Nvivo
Figure 2: Navigation View of Nvivo

The Source window looks like the above diagram. The components of Source Windows are the following:

  • The Internal folder is where Word files and PDF files are saved and stored. They are transcripts representing responses of from surveys or interviews.
  • Memos capture the idea of research and recording the progress (see figure 3).
Nvivo's interface also provide the Memos feature
Figure 3: Memos Feature of Nvivo
  • Nodes folder contains the theme of the research or the analytical framework used in the research. The research has Attitude, Community, Economy, Natural Environment, Policy Management, Memorable Quotes and Balance recorded by individual respondents.
  • The Cases folder contains the unit observations by name of people and location.
Nvivo also provides the Node feature
Figure 4: Nodes Feature of Nvivo
  • Classification is used for classifying details of the responses. For example, demographic attributes of the research participants.
  • Collection gives different ways to organize your material. For example, one can compile different sources or Nodes at one folder. The Annotation tab allows to determine all the commons, reminders and observations of the content.
  • Queries tab allows to save queries with Nvivo.

Internal window (List View)

Internal View of Nvivo
Figure 5: Internal View of Nvivo

Internal Window is the extension of interview responses that are saved in Sources (Navigation option). For example, when clicked on Interviews, the list of files imported will be displayed in the List View as in the below figure.

Nvivo's internal window interface
Figure 6: Internal Window of Nvivo

Detail view

Detail View of Nvivo's interface
Figure 7: Nvivo’s interface for detail view

Detail view is the extension of internal window (see above figure). The detail view will open when one of the interview documents is selected.

For example, if you select interview by Dorothy, her document will appear on the right-hand side of the window (see figure  below).

Nvivo's interface is especially designed to provide the detail view of interviews for qualitative analysis
Figure 8: Detail View of Interviews in Nvivo

Nvivo’s interface with the ribbon (Toolbar)

To access the commands for management and analysis of data, the ribbon is vital. Quick toolbar access, known as Ribbon of Nvivo, is shown in Figure 2. Further, what each of these parameters signifies is also displayed in figure below.

Nvivo's interface and its toolbar for ribbon
Ribbon Toolbar of Nvivo
  • File: The file option in the ribbon allows to open existing projects or create new projects. Also, the file option will leads to options such as copy projects, print projects, Help and other options.
  • Home: Provides the options of “Go”, “Refresh”, “Properties of document” and “Edit”. Tab Go will lead to:
    • Sources,
    • Nodes,
    • Classification,
    • Collection and
    • Queries.
  • Folder Properties option will lead to fill the information about the folder such as Name, Description, Item and Date (figure 3). Option Edit will allows to edit the documents imported in Nvivo as a transcript.
  • External Data: Allows for commands relating to the activity that to perform.
  • Analyze: Provides the options for analyzing data.
  • Query: Indicates the queries that have assembled while working on the project.
  • Explore: Helps with data exploration.

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).