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Top 5 new features in the upcoming NVivo suite

20 August 2015 - IN 11, analysis, for, mac, mapping, mind, NVivo, Plus, Pro, sentiment, Starter

Lately, I've been trying to get on board with the mindfulness movement.  So let me take a breath and tell you what I can hear right now:

  • The development team meeting over by the window - talking progress, priorities and plans.
  • Scott (my pod-buddy) humming a tango - while tapping furiously at his keyboard.
  • Pam our office administrator laughing in the corridor.

These are all familiar sounds at QSR but there's a new undercurrent of excitement and anticipation. That's because the NVivo suite is on its way.

Right now, I'm experimenting with a pre-release copy of the new NVivo and am feeling more hyped-up by the minute. But in the interests of mindfulness, I'm going to slow down and focus on my top five new features:

1. Comparison diagrams (all editions)

Let's say you want to compare two cases, Paul and Helen. You've coded the themes in both of their interviews and now you want to check for similarities and differences.

You click the new Comparison Diagram option and select the participants you want to compare.

The Comparison diagram is laid out before you - a bit like a visual query. Straight up, you see that Paul and Helen have talked about similar themes; Economy and Jobs (and that their case nodes are organized under a parent called Interview Participants).

Looking on the far left, you notice that Helen talks about Real Estate Development but Paul doesn't. Why? Is there something particular about Helen's location or life experience that makes Real Estate Development more important to her? You double-click Helen's case node and read her responses in context.

This kind of comparison is simple but powerful...and the diagrams look great in your report or presentation.

2. Refine queries on the fly (all editions)

Running queries in NVivo tends to be an iterative process.

You might run a Text Search query to find all mentions of 'water quality' in your interview transcripts. Then, after browsing through the results, you decide to include journal articles in the scope of your search.

With the new query interface, you can easily tweak the criteria to match your train of thought - because it's all right there in the same view:

3. Brainstorm with Mind Maps (NVivo 11 Pro and Plus)

I've loved mind maps for a long time now - they're a useful tool for unpacking ideas and organizing nebulous thoughts. They can help you to move forward in a state of...mindfulness. So I was really thrilled to see them included as a new feature in NVivo 11 Pro.

If you're not familiar with mind mapping...basically, you start with a central idea and work your way out from there. For example - early in a project, you (and your team) might brainstorm ideas about a concept like 'Environment':

You quickly map out all the ideas that spring to mind.

The trick with mind mapping is to be fluid and let your ideas flow without censoring them. As you dig deeper, you may find that concepts begin to branch off each other.

The mind map encourages creative thinking but it can also help you build the analytical framework for your project. With a few clicks, you can turn your mapped ideas into hierarchical theme nodes.

4. Analyze Social Media Datasets (new in NVivo for Mac)

Social Media conversations on platforms like Twitter and Facebook are fast becoming a crucial piece in the qualitative puzzle. So it's great that NVivo for Mac users will be able to work with social media datasets.

For example, on Twitter you could search for #cateretcounty and gather all the tweets into a dataset.

Having tweets as a dataset means you can use auto coding to gather all the tweets by Username or Hashtag - a great way to explore what prolific tweeters are saying or check on other popular conversations.

Of course, you can also select the content in cells and manually code it at your theme nodes.

If you're following a hashtag over time - you can gather the tweets at regular intervals and merge them into the original dataset.

Lookout Tweeters - we are listening!

5. Sentiment Analysis (NVivo 11 Plus for Windows)

Ok, this last one is a doozy. If you're working with large sets of data (or are pushed for time) you can automatically detect positive and negative sentiments in your source content.

This is a very handy 'broad-brush' technique that you can use to get a handle on your data - particularly at the start of a project.

The results of sentiment analysis are displayed in a matrix - and you can drill down to the content to make sure it's been categorized correctly:

But wait, there's more..

There is so much more to look forward to in the new NVivo suite but I'm trying to stay focused and mindful - remember?

If you're itching to know more, be sure to sign-up for the preview and check out the feature comparison for the whole story.