Importing sources and creating new documents and memos in Nvivo

Sources 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 about 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 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 sub folders, 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 folder for focus group and literature review by just right clicking 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 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 Nviovo

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 in desktop

Import data for literature review

Similarly for literature review, steps for importing articles in Literature Review Sub folder 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 project. For that, follow the steps below:
Research Administration folder > CREATE (Ribbon) > Document.


Memo  contains observations, insights and interpretations to import, or create 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 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 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 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, web link or other source of reference that cannot be imported into Nvivo.

Divya Dhuria

Divya Dhuria

Research analyst at Project Guru
DIvya has a keen interest in policy making and wealth management. She is a Master in Economics from Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics. She has been trained in the econometric techniques to assess different possible economic relationships. She hascontributed to the working paper on National Rural Health Mission at Institute of economic growth, Delhi. Along with academical growth, she likes to explore and visit different places in her spare time.
Divya Dhuria

Related articles

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  • Creating and managing Nvivo memo 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.
  • Understanding Auto-Coding in Nvivo Earlier we discussed about creating nodes  which acts as ‘sticky notes’ denoting particular themes or topics common across the qualitative data.
  • Understanding issues and limitations of Auto-Coding in Nvivo As pointed out in the Auto-Coding article, the process has its own set of issues and limitations, which might create certain obstacles in the nodes created and therefore needs to be taken care of.
  • Managing imported data in Nvivo workspace In the previous article the importance of Nvivo as a computer assisted qualitative data analysis software, along with types of qualitative data it enables researchers to process and steps to import the same has been explained.


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