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. Having understood the process of data import it is now necessary to ponder on managing imported data into “Sources” menu, which will be reflected in the “Sources” window, described in detail here. “Sources” is a menu where one can save and manage all research materials including interviews, surveys, pictures, audios and any other type of files. This article covers four sections, the sub-folders of “Sources, which in turn assists in importing and managing data:

  • “Internals folder of “Sources” saves and represents research material.
  • Memos folder records thoughts, observations, insights and interpretations related to the material of research.
  • “Externals” folder records information of material that one cannot import in project.
  • “Framework Matrices” is a tool that provides the way to summarize or condense source material in a grid.
source window and menu in Nvivo for managing imported data

Screenshot highlighting the Sources window and menu for managing imported data in Nvivo

Internals for managing imported data

One of the options available for managing imported data in Nvivo is “Internals”. It stores all the research material. The research material can be in the form of word documents (for interview transcripts) or PDF files (research material). “Internals” folder has further sub-folders comprising the text data in the form of word documents (for interview transcripts) or PDFs. These sub-folders can be arranged according to the methodology adopted for the research.

For example, one can mention three types of data collection methods– interviews, focus groups and literature review.

showing the internal folder under sources in Nvivo

Macro outlay of internals folder

To create sub folders:

right click on Internals> New Folders

A box will appear namely “New Folder, as shown in the below figure. Enter name and description.

For example, for interviews, write ‘Interview’ as the name and ‘interview transcripts’ as description and click on “OK” .

Nvivo allows users to make a separate folder for interview transcripts

Folders to feed interview transcripts

Similarly, create a sub-folder for “Focus Group and “Literature review”.

users can made separate folder to feed the transcripts of focus group

Figure 4: Folders to feed Focus Group transcripts

separate folder can be created for literature review articles

Folders to feed Literature Review articles

Note: To add fourth sub-folder under “Internals” named as ‘Research Administration’. One can add it in similar manner as above.

Research Administration is constructed to add documents related to ethical approval before interviews, statement of participation, emails and other research administration documents.

Memo for managing imported data

“Memo” contains  observations, insights and interpretations. One can import or create Memo in Nvivo. Subfolders can also be created to organize the Memo. It can also be used to attach as sticky notes to one or the other participant’s interviews. To create memo, follow these steps:

Click on Memo> CREATE (Ribbon)> Memo Option> Dialogue Box
Memos interface in Nvivo

Memo in Nvivo

A detailed explanation on the utility of memos and its functioning in analyzing data has been provided here (hyperlink needed).

Externals for managing imported data

It represents source material that cannot be imported to a project.

For example, printed books or other articles that are available in hard copies.

This type of material is saved in Externals. To create external folders, follow the below mentioned steps:

Click on External> CREATE (Ribbon)> External> Dialogue Box:
showing the dialogue box in Nvivo under external folders

Dialogue box for Externals folders in Nvivo

As shown in the figure, in the “Name” section, give the name of the book or author. In the “Description”, type the summary of points in the books or article. Furthermore, by clicking on the external tab, another page of dialogue box will appear as in the below figure.

using external tab in Nvivo for externals

External tab within Externals

Here, one can mention the file link, web link or other source of reference that cannot be imported in Nvivo.

Having explained the steps to manage transcripts and raw document in NVivo, the next article will show how to ‘break’ the responses of participants collected through interviews. Breaking of the transcripts will be done through generating of nodes and auto codes identified from the responses fed into the software.

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

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