Generating Nvivo word frequency query

The previous article reviewed the process and utility of Nvivo coding query for data analysis. It demonstrated connections among nodes and between nodes and classification. On the other hand, Nvivo word frequency query helps to list the most frequent words in the transcripts. It helps to search textual content of sources, nodes, folders and cases. This article explains how to generate  Nvivo word frequency query.

This query helps to perform three functions:

  1. Identify possible themes.
  2. Analyse the most frequently used word in a particular demography or node.
  3. Look for any exact word or broaden search to find most frequently occurring concepts.

Starting word frequency

  1. Click on ‘Query’.
  2. Select ‘word frequency’.
  3. A window will appear in detail view of Nvivo.
Figure 1: ‘Word Frequency Query’ window in Nvivo

Figure 1: ‘Word Frequency Query’ window in Nvivo

To initiate Nvivo word frequency query, click on ‘Select Items’ as shown in the figure above. Select the nodes, interviews, case or folder which need the word frequency analysis. A dialogue box ‘Selected Project Items’ will appear as shown in the figure below. For instance in the case research, to perform word frequency on all the nodes, click on ‘Nodes’ and then ‘OK’.

Figure 2: ‘Selected Project Items’ for performing word frequency search query in Nvivo

Figure 2: ‘Selected Project Items’ for performing Nvivo word frequency search query

After selecting the nodes, click on ‘OK’. In the new window, click on ‘Run Query’ on top right corner of ‘Word Frequency Query’ window. The word frequency results will appear in a detail view.

Nvivo Word frequency query result

Figure 3: Nvivo Word frequency query result

Removing futile words

All the words will appear during Nvivo word frequency query. Words which do not follow any possible theme will also appear. They are therefore futile for a query. For example, ‘students’, ‘yes’, ‘classes’, ‘class’, ‘get’ do not indicate any theme. Therefore, there is an option to remove these words and refine the search results. To remove the unwanted words:

  1. Long press CTRL.
  2. Select all irrelevant words.
  3. Right click and select ‘Add to Stop Word List’.
Remove futile words from Nvivo word frequency query result

Figure 4: Remove futile words from Nvivo word frequency query result

A new dialogue box will appear. It will list all the words selected to remove. Click on ‘Ok’ to remove the words.

Figure 5: Dialogue box for adding stop words

Figure 5: Dialogue box for adding stop words

The resultant search contains all the words that reflect any theme in qualitative data. The resultant word frequency search can also be created as ‘Nodes’.

Figure 6: Create word frequency search query as node

Figure 6: Create word frequency search query as node

Preview formats

The results of word frequency search is previewed in four formats:

  1. Summary,
  2. Word Cloud,
  3. Tree Map and
  4. Cluster Analysis.
Four formats for Nvivo word frequency search results  

Figure 7: Four formats for Nvivo word frequency search results

Summary view

‘Summary View’ represents the word frequency search in the form of ‘List of words’. The list is present in the order of highest to lowest weighted percentage. Weighted percentage is highest for the word which occurs most frequently in selected node. It is lowest for the word which appears least frequently (figure below). In the case research, ‘participation’, ‘school’, ‘higher’ and ‘average’ are the most frequently used words in the selected nodes. To identify the theme or trend related to the words, click on them. A document will open in detail view displaying the sentences carrying these words.

Figure 8: Summary view of word frequency search query

Figure 8: Summary view of word frequency search query

Word cloud

‘Word Cloud’ is a map that displays up to 100 words in varying font sizes. Here frequently occurring words are in larger fonts. It is a quick summary of selected nodes. It lists the factors covered on the selected nodes. Word cloud is also an attractive representation tool. Word cloud of word frequency search can be viewed by clicking on ‘Word Cloud’ on lower right corner of the window.

Figure 9: Word cloud format of word frequency search query

Figure 9: Word cloud format of word frequency search query

To save this word cloud, either export or print or simply copy to another window. Here the word cloud of case research has been exported and displayed.

Figure 10: Exported word cloud of case research

Figure 10: Exported word cloud of case research

The word cloud presents management, participation, activities, average, curriculum, etc. in larger font. The font size appears on the basis of their frequency of occurrence.

Tree Map

Like word cloud, Tree Map also displays up to 100 words as a series of rectangles. The more frequently occurring words are in larger rectangles.

Figure 11: Tree map format of word frequency search query

Figure 11: Tree map format of word frequency search query

‘Tree Map’ is another way of representing word search query. It is more usable in cases where a specific set of words are inquired in selected project items. Tree maps too can be exported, printed or copied to another window. The below figure displays the tree map of case research .

Figure 12 Exported tree map of case research

Figure 12: Exported tree map of case research

Cluster analysis

‘Cluster Analysis’ is covered in a separate article as a part of data visualisation. It is an exploratory technique for visualizing patterns in a project by grouping sources or nodes. The grouping takes place for similar words, coding or attributes value. In the present case, the cluster analysis is for similar words. To view cluster analysis of word frequency search, click on ‘Cluster Analysis’ icon on lower right corner of the window.

Figure 13: Cluster analysis format of word frequency search query

Figure 13: Cluster analysis format of word frequency search query

Cluster analysis can be exported, printed or copied to another window. The below figure displays the Cluster analysis of case research.

Figure 14: Exported cluster analysis of case research

Figure 14: Exported cluster analysis of case research

Lastly, to save the word frequency search, click on ‘Add to Project’.

Figure 15: Word frequency search query to add to project

Figure 15: Word frequency search query to add to project

A dialogue box will appear asking for the name and description of the word frequency query. After naming it, click on ‘OK’ to save in ‘Query’ folder.

Figure 16: Dialogue Box for adding word frequency search query to project

Figure 16: Dialogue Box for adding word frequency search query to project

Coding matrix for analyzing unrelated nodes

Nvivo word frequency query by Summary, Word Cloud, Tree Map and Cluster Analysis presented the words as per their frequency of occurrence. ‘Management’, ‘School’ and ‘Curriculum’ emerged as the most frequent words. However, for interpretation, along with the size of the word frequency, the context also matters. Another query type– coding matrix also helps to analyse unrelated nodes and attributes that contain points of intersection.

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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