Data visualisation through concept maps in Nvivo

As discussed in the article Data Visualisation using Mind Maps in NVIVO, visualisations of nodes can take place using two types of maps:

  1. mind maps and
  2. concept maps.

Mind maps portray the connection between nodes. Concept maps on the other hand help visualise thoughts, define concepts and contemplate the connections. It is a free form visualisation and consists of different shapes and connectors. Concept maps are made alongside qualitative data analysis to capture all the thoughts visually. Follow the below steps to generate  concept maps:

  1. Click on ‘Explore’
  2. Click on ‘Concepts Map’

A dialogue box will appear (figure below):

Figure 1: Dialogue box for creating concept map in Nvivo

Figure 1: Dialogue box for creating concept map in Nvivo

Name the concept map. For instance, to find the contribution of teachers to the quality of high school education, name it ‘Teacher’s Contribution to Concept Map of case research’. The figure below displays the concept map:

Figure 2: An empty canvas of concepts map in Nvivo

Figure 2: An empty canvas of concepts map in Nvivo

Adding shapes to concept maps

Add shapes from the available options in ‘Concept Map’ window (figure below). To do so, drag the selected shape in ‘Concept Map’ canvas. To delete the shape, right click and choose ‘delete’ option.

Figure 3: Options for adding shapes in concept map

Figure 3: Options for adding shapes in concept map

 Next, write on it the focus point of the concept map. In the case research, the focus point is ‘Teacher’s contribution to the Quality of Higher education’ (figure below).

Figure 4: Focus point of concept map in Nvivo

Figure 4: Focus point of concept map in Nvivo

Connecting concept maps to focus points

Now connect the concepts associated with the focus point in the same way as figure 2 & 3. In the case research, ‘teacher’s willingness to teach’ and ‘teacher’s ability to teach’ are related to ‘teacher’s contribution’. To add both, drag selected shapes and name them respectively (figure below).

Figure 5: Associated thoughts in concept map

Figure 5: Associated thoughts in concept maps

Using tools connector to indicate impact on focus point

The associated thoughts should indicate their impact on the focus point. In this case they should point towards teacher’s contribution. For that use concept mind tools connector options (see figure below). Three important concepts map tools which are of use are:

  1. Pointer: An arrow symbol which helps to change the position of different shapes in concept map.
  2. Connector: Helps visualise connections between the different shapes in a concept map.
  3. Add Project Items: It helps add project items like nodes, cases, interviews or other PDFs as reference in concept map.
Figure 6: Concept map tools in Nvivo

Figure 6: Concept map tools in Nvivo

Use connectors by dragging and linking two points. In this case, drag from ‘teacher’s willingness to teach’ to link it with ‘teacher’s contribution’. An arrow between the associated and focus points will appear (see figure below). Name these arrows by clicking on them.

Associated thoughts connected to focus point in concept maps in Nvivo

Figure 7: Associated thoughts connected to focus point in concept maps in Nvivo

The associated thoughts in concept maps can be linked to its references. Articles or PDF files carrying studies can be added and used as associated thoughts. To do so, click on ‘Add Project Item’ (In concept tools) and use connectors to connect the respective thoughts (figure below).

Figure 8: Add project item window

Figure 8: Add project item window

The case research contains references in the form of PDF files. They pertain to ‘teacher’s ability and preferences’ as a contributing factor towards ‘teacher’s contribution’. These references were initially saved in ‘Sources’, under ‘Literature Review’ (see figure below).

Figure 9: References in source menu to be used in concept map in Nvivo

Figure 9: References in source menu to be used in concept map in Nvivo

After dragging and connecting PDF references, the concept map appears (figure below). Concepts maps are not the part of data representation. Rather, it is an activity to frequently record all the thoughts at one place during the research. Concepts maps are not static. Upgrade them while adding new information or an idea.

Figure 10: Complete concept map of teacher's contribution

Figure 10: Complete concept map of teacher’s contribution

Summarisation of data through framework matrices

Visualisation of data reflecting connection among nodes is import in research. It enables understanding the association between major elements of the study. However, visualisation alone does not suffice the purpose of presenting a systematic overview of the problem. For that summarisation of data through framework matrices and reports & extracts is also significant. They present the results and analysis into grid/report format, providing it a structure. The succeeding article summarises results of the case research through reports & extracts.

Priya Chetty

Partner at Project Guru
Priya Chetty writes frequently about advertising, media, marketing and finance. In addition to posting daily to Project Guru Knowledge Tank, she is currently in the editorial board of Research & Analysis wing of Project Guru. She emphasizes more on refined content for Project Guru's various paid services. She has also reviewed about various insights of the social insider by writing articles about what social media means for the media and marketing industries. She has also worked in outdoor media agencies like MPG and hotel marketing companies like CarePlus.

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