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An NVivo training workshop can be like a trip to the hairdressers

27 June 2013 - BY Sue Bullen IN models, NVivo, training, workshop

Strange title for a blog post isn't it?  

As an NVivo trainer I get a lot of feedback about the software and the workshops that QSR host. This includes the “Wows”, the ‘WishList”, the “Loves/DisLikes”.

Workshop Classics

There are also those quotes that I call “workshop classics” and at the top of my workshop classic list is this one:

At the end of a two day NVivo workshop, a participant (female) said:

 I feel like this is similar to when you go to the hairdressers.  Everything is fine until you try and do it yourself

The room exploded with laughter but it did get me thinking (hence this blog post).

When I go to the hairdressers, my hair gets a lot of 'product' plastered on it.  Some of this is necessary (for example, the de-greying agent) but added to that is the conditioner, mouse, wax, gel and that touch of ‘spray’.   Seriously am I ever going to use all these products?  Maybe for the occasional special event but most of the time the answer is No!

In a two day NVivo workshop we show and teach participants as many of the tools as possible, but I’m sure my training colleagues will agree, it is very rare that we would see a project that uses everything!

So where should you start?

First a couple of basic rules:

  • Don’t wait until you have all your interview transcripts ready to go. Get started as soon as your project is in the early stages.
  • Don’t wait until that BIG project hits your desk thinking you can remember everything in your head.  Learning a new tool with a smaller project makes sense.

Now, here's how you could move forward

1. Think about your research question (and keep thinking about it). Then ask yourself:

What do I need to bring into NVivo in order to answer this research question?

2. Think about which NVivo ‘tool’ would help you get started. Would it help if you visualise your first thoughts/ideas? If yes, create a Mind Map:

3. Have you collected a demographic profile for each of your interview participants? Yes? Then set this up in an Excel spreadsheet and import as a Node Classification sheet:

Case Classification Sheet

4. Do you have a lot of admin type data—for example, Research Proposal, Overview of Project, Consent forms, interview discussion guide? Import them as Sources.

5. Have you started a project journal? Create this in NVivo and record your diary here. Need help with creating a new document? Reach for the NVivo Help.

Congratulations you haven’t used every tool to get started but you have your NVivo project up and running.  You should be feeling a little more organized.

Whilst you’re waiting for your interviews to be completed or other data to be collected,  I would encourage any new NVivo user to read the NVivo help topics under  Concepts, Strategies and Techniques and keep checking the QSR website for new tutorials, case studies and tips.

There may be times that you feel like you would like to visit the hairdressers again, but next time, you may not need as much “product”  :)