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Getting started with NVivo

Principles of Creating Codes

  • It’s normal for codes to emerge while you are reading through your data.
  • Consider different types of coding:
    • topic coding – what is the topic being discussed?
    • analytical coding – why does this issue matter?
    • case coding – you can code the material at a case to indicate the person/ organization/place being observed.
  • Use a hierarchy of codes.

e.g. Economy would be a parent code and Tourism would be a child code.

NVivo staff suggest that your coding structure have a maximum of 10 top-level codes and be no more than 2-3 layers deep:

  • Don’t duplicate codes
  • Don’t combine concepts

It’s better to code things twice or three times rather than have a code such as Negative attitude toward tourism (e.g. instead code Negative attitude and Tourism separately because it allows for greater flexibility in the analysis).  

You can then run a query for negative attitudes among one or more other codes (e.g. Negative attitudes toward Tourism or Real estate development).

  • Create a code for Memorable quotes.
  • Use a codebook to manage codes.

This is essential if you are 2+ people coding to ensure you are applying your codes the same way.

Creating a code

To create a code in the List View:

  1. In Navigation View, choose Coding > Codes.
  2. On the Create tab, click Code, the New Code dialog box will appear.

  1. Enter a name, a description and a nickname (optional) for your new code.

Optionally, you can select Aggregate coding from children to include all the references in child codes for a parent code. Click here for a detailed explanation of aggregate codes. 

To create a code while coding in Detail View:

  1. In Detail View, select the content you want to code.
  2. Drag and drop your selection onto the blank area beneath the codes in the List View.

  1. Select an existing code or click the button beneath Create new to create a new code and code the content to the new code.

Coding Schema

Codes can be organized into hierarchies for broader and narrower concepts. For example, Fishing or aquaculture is the child code of Economy (shown in the picture below).

To create a child code (code hierarchy):

  1. Select the code you want to set as the parent code before opening the New Code dialog box.

Tip: The Hierarchical name field on the New Code dialog box can indicate the hierarchy relationship of your new code.

  1. Alternatively, you can select the code you want to be children and drag it onto the parent code.

Editing a Code

  1. Right-click the code name and select Code Properties.
  2. Edit code properties in the popup box.

Merging Codes

  1. Select the code(s) you want to merge into an existing code.
  2. Right-click the selected item(s), choose Cut.
  3. Right-click the code you want to merge with, select Merge Into Selected Code/Case.

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