Work with all material in one program
NVivo 9 will allow you to import and work with ‘datasets’ – a term we’re using to describe qualitative data that’s stored in a structured format, including Excel spreadsheets, Access database tables, ODBC database tables and text delimited files. What’s more, your dataset can contain a range of data types, from text to audio and images. So now that you can work with your open ended survey responses in qualitative data analysis software, there’s no need to reduce them to a broad category or number.
Most importantly, you’ll be able to work with datasets in the same way that you work with all of your other data in NVivo, so there’s no need to learn new ways of working. Just as you would with documents or multimedia files, you can code content in datasets, annotate them, add links, view coding stripes, search and query them and see them in your nodes or within a model. NVivo 9 lets you work with all of your material in one program in the same way.
Work with datasets your way
In a first for our industry, you can choose to view and work with your databases and spreadsheets in two views. Opt for the ‘table view’ (click here to see a dataset in NVivo 9 shown in a table view) and see your data in its original format. Your data appears in rows and columns and is similar to how it looks outside of the software. Use this view to work with all of your data in more context. You can even filter and sort your rows. For example, sort online survey responses by the ‘country’ column, and see all of your responses from Americans together.
Or, if you prefer to work through your data one response at a time, choose the ‘form’ view (click here to see a dataset in NVivo 9 shown in a form view). The form view is ideal when you’re working with lots of text from open ended survey questions and you find analyzing material in a crowded table format difficult. It gives you more space to read through and classify your data. So if you’re working through online survey responses from tourism operators about sustainable fishing practices for example, this view lets you see each person’s response in full.
Combine automation with expertise
We recognize that datasets usually means lots of information – so it’s often hard to know where to start! NVivo 9 lets you automatically classify your data into themes or groups, giving you real flexibility to manage and shape your datasets. It can also help to speed up the analysis process and ensure there’s no need to manipulate your data before working with it.
For example, import a database containing thousands of online survey responses on the impact of climate change, where each column holds the responses to a specific question. Ask NVivo to create a new ‘theme’ or ‘node’ for each column, and all of the responses for a specific question will be grouped together.
Alternatively, you might find it useful to group responses based on demographic data recorded in other columns of your dataset. For example, you can use NVivo 9 to automatically group responses to open ended questions based on each respondent’s country and industry – so it’s easier for you to quickly read through all responses from American commercial fishermen or tourism operators in New Zealand.
When you’re working with large datasets, you might also need to regroup demographic data into ‘super-groups’. For example, rather than group your data by age, you can set up age ranges to classify your data. So all respondents who are aged 35 can be automatically classified or ‘coded’ to a group or node that you’ve called ‘Age 30-35’. You can define your own groups or ask NVivo to create groups for you using statistical measures such as percentiles or standard deviation, facilitating rich mixed methods analysis.
Hundreds of open ended survey responses or notes about thousands of people in a contact management database can be automatically ‘filed’ into manageable structures in this way. You’ll be able to quickly see where major themes are emerging and focus your review and analysis.
Stay tuned for more!
We’ll be revealing more about new features in NVivo 9, some of which will further enhance your ability to work with datasets. Keep an eye out for updates on our website or click here to subscribe to our newsletter, NSight, to have the news delivered to your inbox.