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Using NVivo: An Unofficial and Unauthorized Primer

Shalin Hai-Jew, Author

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Data Query: Coding Query

The current version of NVivo has compressed some of the direct queries in one dropdown:  coding, crosstab, coding comparison, compound, (and) group.

Coding Query 

A basic coding query enables exploring the data by coding approaches in the project.  This is run once some coding has been done.  

A basic coding query in an NVivo project involves analyzing the intersection between two variables such as between a node and another node, or a node and an attribute (such as some characteristic around which respondents are grouped). The output here involves a temporary document (unless saved) with the intersected extracted information.  Such a query may be saved in two forms:  (1)  the results or extracted data, and (2) the macro (the query sequence, usually for parameters of the coding query...and for possible re-use at a later time).  

Begin with the NVivo ribbon.  In the Query tab, click on Coding.  A window will open.  

The “Add to project” saves the scripting so that the parameters of this data extraction may be re-used (from a folder in the Queries space in the Navigation View).  It is a good idea to name this "macro" clearly, so it’s clear where the data is being drawn from. (This feature is similar to the uses of “macros” or single instructions that expand automatically to a sequence or set of instructions for the query task.)   

(Note:  Make sure that the “Aggregate Coding from Child Nodes” is checked for the nodes so that even nodes with sub-nodes may be selected for coding queries—as well as matrix coding queries.)  

Go through the Coding Query window, and select the items that will be cross-referenced.  If more complex coding queries are desired, go to the Advanced tab and list combined datasets (or multiple nodes).  Click “Run” at the bottom left.   

For this example, a coding query was run on a node focused on initial MOOC investments vs. a node focused on open-source contents and global access issues.  That cross-reference resulted in 10 references.  

To save this coding query, right click on the active pane and click Store Query Results in the dropdown menu.  Select the location for the results.  Name and describe the results.  

The following is a video about how to conduct a coding query in NVivo 10 but with a focus on extracting responses based on attribute data. This topic was beyond the purview of the project used for the screenshots, but it is valuable to know given the promise of what attribute data may reveal.  

A Walk-through with the "Query Wizard" Feature

Finally, it may be helpful to note that the Query Wizard (in the Query Tab in the Create area) may be used for a Coding query.  

A wizard provides some "cognitive scaffolding" for setting up the data it does not feel as sparse of a setup window.  It offers a step-by-step process. 

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