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C2C Lantern (Fall 2014/ Winter 2015)

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Supporting Qualitative and Mixed Methods Researchers with NVivo 10

By Shalin Hai-Jew, Kansas State University

K-State 2025 is a call for Kansas State University to be recognized nationally as a Top 50 public research university by 2025, about 11 years away. To achieve that status will require a range of dependencies: inspired leadership, excellent teaching, ground-breaking research work, top-of-the-line equipment and resources, and supportive and responsive information technology (IT), among other factors. 

Support for a Qualitative and Mixed Methods Data Analysis Tool  

One IT angle involves supporting the qualitative and mixed methods researchers through the attaining of a multi-year campus site license for a qualitative and mixed methods data analytics software program, NVivo 10. The site license includes all K-State faculty, staff, administrators, and graduate students.

Administrator support.  From a slate of software programs, administrators on campus selected NVivo.  NVivo 10 is a highly respected and broadly used tool in CAQDAS, or "computer-assisted qualitative data analysis software." Its design accommodates a wide range of research approaches. NVivo 10 runs on Windows and on parallels on recent Mac OSes; recently, QSR International released native NVivo for Macs.  

Data from anywhere.  The tool enables users to integrate a broad range of digital (and digitized) files for analysis: text documents (in .pdf, .doc, .docx, and other formats), audio, video, and image files. The tool has a browser add-on (NCapture) to Chrome or IE that enables Web extraction from all websites as well as from particular social media and social networking platforms (like Twitter and Facebook).  The Externals source folder enables the adding of "proxy" files to represent media, events, and other data sources which are not digitized.  

Analyses.  The tool enables a wide range of non-parametric and text-based analyses. The outcomes from the analyses and queries may be expressed visually--in word trees, word clouds, cluster diagrams (2D and 3D), dendrograms, geographical maps, and others.   

Its autocoding features enable both fast ingestion of text data with pre-coding…and machine-emulation of human coding (there are two types of autocoding in this tool: one for data ingestion with the automatic creation of certain nodes and then another type which involves machine learning of researcher coding).

Support for Research Work

The broad campus support for this tool sends a message about the importance of all forms of rigorous and insightful research. The inclusion of live webinar training on the tool for the first year-and-a-half of the adoption eased the learning curve and furthered expertise on campus (without overstepping into the more nuanced issues of the direct research). Since then, the university has been providing its own face-to-face trainings at about the same frequency as the webinar trainings offered by QSR International. 

An e-book created to support this endeavor, "Using NVivo: An Unofficial and Unauthorized Primer" and is available on the Web.  This book was also built on the Scalar platform.  

Additional Resources  

The official QSR International site for this software is here.

The following is a link to a recent presentation about this software.

Please click below to access the related Sidebar.  

About the Author

Shalin Hai-Jew works as an instructional designer at Kansas State University.

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