Creating and managing Nvivo memo

Memos are notes which can be linked on a project item in Nvivo. They are used to record and maintain elements of a project. They are a part of ‘Sources’ folder and are saved in ‘Memos’ folder. A memo can be made on the entire project or a single part of it. For example, memo can be created for recording notes about a particular interview. It can also be directly linked to the interview. Nvivo memo can be prepared and linked to sources, nodes and case nodes. Like nodes, a memo also can be typed or directly imported to Nvivo.

Importing an Nvivo memo

To import a memo in Nvivo, follow these step:

  1. Click on ‘External Data’
  2. Click on ‘Memo’
Process to import an Nvivo memo
Figure 1: Process to import an Nvivo memo

‘Import Source’ window will appear to help browse the document in system.

How to import file as an Nvivo memo?
Figure 2: How to import file as an Nvivo memo?

After selecting the document to be imported as a memo, click on ‘Open’. A dialogue box as ‘Memo Properties’ will appear.

Figure 3: ‘Memo properties’ folder
Figure 3: ‘Memo properties’ folder

Give an appropriate name to this memo and click ‘Ok’. A memo will appear carrying the imported document. To view the imported memo, go to the ‘Memo’ folder.

Figure 4: Imported folders as memo in Nvivo
Figure 4: Imported folders as memo in Nvivo

How to create an Nvivo memo?

Memos can be created in two ways. First is to create an Nvivo memo and link it to the concerned project item. Secondly create a direct linking memo to a specific project item. The process is explained below.

Option 1

To create an Nvivo memo, follow these steps:

  1. Click on ‘Create’
  2. Click on ‘Memo’

A dialogue box will appear.

Option 1 to create a new Nvivo memo
Figure 5: Option 1 to create a new Nvivo memo

Give a suitable name to the memo. In the case research, notes are prepared on the school management’s contribution to quality education. So this memo is named as ‘Observations on School Management Contribution’ as shown in the figure below. After writing the name, click on ‘OK’. A memo has been created in the ‘Memo’ folder.

Figure 6: Option 1 for creating a new memo
Figure 6: Option 1 for creating a new memo
Figure 7: Detail view of the newly created memo
Figure 7: Detail view of the newly created memo

Double clicking on ‘Memos’ will open the memo in detail view as shown in the figure above. Type your observations on the issue, for instance school management’s contribution on quality of education in school. In this case, the interviews indicated that the school management arranges extra classes, infrastructure, and technical courses and opportunities for extra-curricular activities.

Figure 8: Notes on memo of observations on school management contribution
Figure 8: Notes on memo of observations on school management contribution

Now link the memo to its specific project item. Since this memo contains the details about the school management’s contribution, link it to the node ‘School management contribution’. For that, follow these steps.

  1. Double click on concerned node (here, School Management’s contribution)
  2. Click on ‘Files’
  3. Click on ‘Memo Links’
  4. Select ‘Link to Existing Memo’

Figure below shows the process.

Figure 9: Linking memos with nodes
Figure 9: Linking memos with nodes

A dialogue box ‘Select project item’ will appear. Select the memo to link to the selected node above and click on ‘OK’.

Figure 10: Select project items like memo to link with selected nodes
Figure 10: Select project items like memo to link with selected nodes

The memo is now linked to its concerned node in detail window.

Figure 11: Linked memos with nodes
Figure 11: Linked memos with nodes

Option 2

You can also directly create a linking memo to that idea/insight. To create this link follow these steps:

  1. Select the nodes or sources (node in present case)
  2. Click on ‘File’
  3. Click on ‘Memo Link’
  4. Select ‘Link to New Memo’

Figure below shows the process.

Figure 12: Creating linking nodes in Nvivo
Figure 12: Creating linking nodes in Nvivo

The below dialogue box will appear.

Figure 13: Creating a direct linking memo on Nvivo
Figure 13: Creating a direct linking memo on Nvivo

After giving an appropriate name (Information on Teaching Preference) click ‘OK’. A new memo “Information on Teaching Preference” which is already linked to its concerned node is created.

Figure 14: List of nodes with linked memos
Figure 14: List of nodes with linked memos

Like before, type notes in this memo. Follow these steps to do so:

  1. Click on ‘Sources’ in the main menu.
  2. Click on ‘memo’.
  3. Select the concerned memo (here, Information on Teaching Preference).
  4. Double click on selected memo.

The memo will open in detail view. Create notes related to the node it is linked to. For instance in this memo the observations shown in the figure below were noted.

Figure 15: Notes on memo of observations on teaching preferences
Figure 15: Notes on memo of observations on teaching preferences

Lastly, all the memos can be viewed at one place. To do so, follow the below steps.

  1. Click on ‘Sources’ in the main menu.
  2. Click on ‘Memo’.
  3. A list of all the memos will appear.
Figure 16: List of memos in memo folder in 'Sources'
Figure 16: List of memos in memo folder in ‘Sources

Memos have varies uses from linking node or any other project items in Nvivo. One such use of memos is to create the query in project. The succeeding article explains the use of memo in creating coding queries.

Understanding issues and limitations of Auto-Coding in NvivoImporting sources and creating new documents and memos in Nvivo

Priya Chetty

Partner at Project Guru
Priya is a master in business administration with majors in marketing and finance. She is fluent with data modelling, time series analysis, various regression models, forecasting and interpretation of the data. She has assisted data scientists, corporates, scholars in the field of finance, banking, economics and marketing.
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