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#12625 NVivo and Referencing - some possible strategies to add to your toolkit of tr...

Posted by Dr Jens Hansen on 21 March 2012 - 02:05 PM

The ability to access references and portions of references as well as notes is fundamental to the academic and research enterprise.  But the current process does not quite achieve that although it’s moving towards something that is very satisfactory.

Currently, when working with references and NVivo, we‘re able follow a routine that’s, as far as we can tell, something akin to this:
1.    We select needed citations from, e.g. EndNote, after having searched our library database for relevant materials.  That may mean invoking Boolean operators to find the appropriate citations from the academic library.  Typically, for most academics, such a library will include hundreds, or sometimes thousands, of entries.
2.    We export the selected citations from EndNote as XML files to a holding destination.
3.    We then import the XML files from that holding destination into NVivo by clicking on the ‘Bibliographic data’ option in External Data icon that’s a feature of the NVivo ribbon.
4.    From the pop-up table, we select from the available options, ensuring that requisite fields are imported into the resultant memos which NVivo creates.  The default for naming sources is ‘Title’ but the drop-down menu also allows for ‘Author and Year’.  It’s also possible from the ‘Assign sources to’ field, to generate either a series of single references, or to assign them to different classifications.
5.    We can then open the destination file/s and click on the link/s to the memo/s. created by NVivo.
6.    We should, though, make sure that the selected citation is the correct one [there can be occasions, as we’ve discovered, when more than one citation stems from the same author in the same year].
7.    Finally, we can code and node away to our brain’s content using both our references and primary data as required.
What we’d like to see built into the above is that the default option for step four has different consequences.  There are three outcomes we’d like to propose for inclusion:
1.    When materials from EndNote are migrated into NVivo, we’d like to see the full citation become presented as the default option for the ‘Name Sources’ field within the ‘Import from…’ table.  (Currently, as we noted above, we’re able to select either ‘Title’ or ‘Author and year’ and currently, ‘Title’ is the default.)  To our way of thinking, that does not align with the way in which academics tend to work.  We believe they’d prefer to work with the full citation as a default (and they’d like to work with more besides…).
2.    We’d like to see a capacity, therefore, of being able to import fuller details as directly as possible into NVivo.  This means we’d like to see an option in NVivo for being able to import selected EndNote materials directly into Sources.  We see this as being in the form of one or more documents (for Internals) or as inclusions within an external file that have been extracted from a linked file (NVivo to the EndNote library).
3.    We’d also like to open imported data directly when it is double clicked rather than having to click on the linked memo to access embedded details.  To our way of thinking, going directly to a source is especially important for beginning users of NVivo.

In justifying these three suggestions, we reason that most academics prefer to work with a full citation rather than just a title or an author’s name.  But in addition, our own experience tells us that academics want to be able to access a range of selected fields, e.g. key words/abstracts/notes and so on.  Quite simply, they want to be able to access, manage, search, and annotate material from fields they’ve selected whilst they are interrogating their primary data.  They invariably want to cross-reference their primary data with reference (literature) data.  Otherwise, what’s the point of introducing citations and associated fields?

Under the current set-up for NVivo, that can pretty much be achieved when memos are programmed to assume and display selected attributes.  But as noted above, full citation details cannot yet currently be displayed as a default for the ‘Name Sources’ option in the pop-up table.  Moving on…
Because we think the inbuilt processes of NVivo don’t quite achieve what we’d like to see, we’ve been using some work-around processes.  We believe these are quite useful and a tad quicker to use but in sharing them with forum members, we stress that they’re useful for us – that is – they fit with the ways in which we work.  Below, we’ve outlined the essentials of our work-around strategies:
  • If we’re working with a single reference:
    • we go to EndNote X4, click on the Hide Empty Fields button (unique to X4 and found in the top right hand corner);
    • select ‘Show All Fields’ from the ‘Output Styles’ option which resides within the ‘Edit’ drop-down menu (An alternative is to use the ‘Open Style Manager’ option within ‘Output Styles’ so that tailor-made options can be generated);
    • we then invoke the ‘Preview’ tab in the ‘Tab Pane’ and copy the contents directly into a ‘new document’ that has been created within NVivo or into a word document for importing as a standalone source.
  • If we’re working with multiple references (which might have emerged from Boolean searches):
    • we select citations and whatever fields we’ve opted to invoke after having used ‘Style Manager’;
    • we then use the ‘Format Bibliography’ button so that reference data we’ve selected will be produced as a separate document;
    • and at that point, we can either copy and paste the whole lot into a new document we’ve created within NVivo, or we can import the word document as a standalone source.  And, by the way, that procedure also works if you’re importing an important single reference and this can also be achieved with earlier versions of EndNote and with earlier versions of NVivo.

An alternative work-around we’ve devised involves creating External sources.  Here, our goal has been to generate, as simply and as rapidly as possible, an easily accessible repository for reference data.  We achieve this by following these steps:

  • we create a new External File and, when the External Properties box shows, we complete the fields so that:
  • the ‘Type’ becomes a ‘File link’ that links to the EndNote library (and that’s what creates speedy access);
  • the contents and units become references (because that’s the unit we’ve created) and the range is however large we, as researchers determine it should be;
  • relevant reference information is then pasted into each external unit as desired.
The advantages of this are twofold: first, we’ve found that we’ve been able to very quickly go to our source library, invoke Boolean searches (or go directly to known references), so that we can select what’s wanted.  We’re then able to copy and paste references into the external document divisions or units (which we’ve called references).  We could, if we want to, also apply attributes from the Attributes Tab but in practice, we’ve not really found that to be useful for the approach we’re using.  We want to underscore that this is really is a very simple work-around that enables us to assemble reference data for coding into a convenient place within NVivo.  It’s not perfect but it works for us and it pretty much enables us to show full reference material with which we can work robustly.

We apologise to those who already know about such strategies because the last thing we want to do is teach anybody’s grandparents how to suck the proverbial egg!  Indeed, we recognise that it’s quite likely that others amongst the NVivo community may throw their hands up in horror and will have found much simpler solutions.  But we have to say that in all honesty, we’ve found these relatively simple approaches have enabled us to quickly assemble what we need by way of reference materials.  Note that we are stressing, yet again, that they are useful for our approaches to undertaking qualitative research.

Our hope is that academics and researchers will not be bound by the determinism of the technology, and if they are, we hope they’ll recognise that and speak up so that better ways can be collaboratively developed.  We know from conversations with QSR staff that those designing NVivo features already seek to mirror the ways in which academics and researchers actually do their work.  We also know that QSR has moved a long, long way towards creating expanded synergies and capabilities within the software.  Congratulations are, therefore, in order.  But there is still a little way to go.  Listening to the whispers and voices of academic and research communities of practice is now necessary and that’s what this forum enables.  What do you think?

Dr Jens J. Hansen,
Anna Jo Perry,  
Woodhill Park Research Retreat, Aotearoa New Zealand

#18255 How to export nodes with case classifications

Posted by IOFarmer on 15 March 2017 - 11:13 PM

Hello everyone!


My organization recently purchased Nvivo 11 for qualitatively analyzing our open ended survey responses. I am using the text search query function to create nodes based on pre-established themes for our data.


I input the data from an excel spreadsheet that has the following items: respondent id, gender, class year, open ended comment.


I have been able to create the nodes based on our themes and export the findings in excel as: id, comment. What I would like to do is export the node with the case classifications as well, similar to how it was imported. My goal is to have a spreadsheet with: id, gender, class year, comment. I'm trying to get this for each node created so that essentially I've whittled down the large number of comments to only those fitting in with the themes we have identified which I will then separate by the other factors (gender and class year).


I've used the export function in the data tab, but didn't find it provided anything useful regarding what I'm looking for. What I found more useful was right clicking on the node and using the "export node" option, but as I mentioned it does not indicate the case classifications in the output.

If anyone could either provide directions on how to export with both the node comments and the classifications or indicate where to find that information it would be very helpful!




#17699 Multiple Users/Coders and Coding Comparison Query

Posted by Kari Struemph on 06 May 2016 - 10:31 PM

I'm trying to learn how to do the Coding Comparison Query - I've figured out how to change users, however it is not intuitive to me that the document stays coded when you change users instead of giving you a clean version of the document for the second coder to code so a comparison can be done.  Can anyone provide me a bit of guidance on how this process works? 


I have documents that will be coded separately by two coders and then would like them to be compared.




#17669 Timeout for matrix queries

Posted by j.innes on 26 April 2016 - 10:54 PM

Hi all,


I have revived an old thread in Nvivo9/10 forum about query timeout. 


I have gratefully received a response from QSR helpdesk about this topic and so am sharing this in case anyone else finds it useful:


Firstly, please follow the steps below to perform a Compact and Repair of your project:

1. If your project is located on a network drive, copy it to your local machine.

2. If the project is currently open, close the project via File > Close.

3. Click the File tab > Help Compact and Repair Project.

4. At the Select Project dialog box, locate and select the project - select NVivo Projects (*.nvp) to repair a standalone project.

5. Click Open.

If the issue persists, you may need to change the SQL Time out period manually by editing your configuration file. This may be a little technical. You can ask your IT support personnel to help you with this if you are unable to do this yourself. The steps are below:

o    Ensure NVivo 11 is closed.

o    Go to Start -> All Programs -> Accessories -> Wordpad

o    Click on File -> Open. Ensure "All Documents (*.*) is selected in the 'Files of Type' dropdown menu in the Open dialog box.


1. With NVivo 11 closed, open Windows Explorer

a)    Right-click on the Windows Start circle -> Explore.

2. Display all hidden files and folders:

a)    Click on Organize -> Folder and Search Options

B)    On the 'Folder Options' dialog, click on the View tab and check 'Show hidden files and folders' option

c)    Click on the Apply button and click OK.

2. Navigate to the following folders:



o    You should see few folders that start with NVivo.exe..... Go into the first folder and see if it has subfolder named ""2. If not, go back one level and go into the second NVivo.exe.. folder to see if it has a subfolder One of the two folders will definitely have a subfolder named ""2. Go into this subfolder ( You should see a file called user.config, double click on it to open it.(Open it with Notepad)

o    The 19th3 line from top in this file (or one or two lines above or below) should have something that says SqlCommandTimeout setting. The next line should have a value of 60. Change this value to a higher number like 120 or 180.

o    Open NVivo 11 and re-run your query. If you still get the same error. Try increasing the timeout value to a higher number.

Please note changing the sqltimeout value may result in the Cancel button (when you run a query) to become unresponsive.

Lastly, if you are using 32-bit NVivo 11, it will also help to switch to 64-bit version. Please refer to the link below to find whether you can install 64-bit,



1. Rather than going through all those steps, I found it easier to type %appdata% into my Windows Explorer and choose the right version of Nvivo from there.

2. Just to point out that this number is the version of Nvivo you're running. Your version may be different, so check this first. You can do that by going to 'File', 'Help', 'About Nvivo'. 

3. It was not the 19th line for me. I just used CTRL+F to find the SqlCommandTimeout setting.

#17608 Drag and drop coding

Posted by JulianYates on 06 April 2016 - 09:19 AM

I find NVivo's software quirk on drag and drop coding extremely frustrating. This quirk relates to text selection: once a section of text is selected it is intuitive to drag it quickly to the desired code, but in NVivo this doesn't work; instead the selection is dropped and a process of selecting new text begins. It seems that NVivo requires the user to click on the selected text, pause for over 1 second, and then begin the drag motion. This is painful - it doesn't seem like much but it interrupts fast working, especially when selections are dropped.


Moreover, it diverges from standard logics in other software. For most software, to drop a selection and begin a new selection, the user must first click and release to reset the selection. Why doesn't NVivo follow this logic, rather than abandoning the selection as soon as the cursor is moved while still holding the click?


Please make this very simple change; it would make coding so much faster and less painful! 

#16991 Coding query

Posted by Orionspants on 13 June 2015 - 12:06 AM

Does your source show zero nodes and zero references? If so you may be experiencing the same issue I am, likely a misstep in project step-up. QSR advised zipping the file and submitting a support ticket: http://assets.qsrint...m/support-form/



However if just trying to run a standard query I've also had no luck with that, but matrix coding queries work fairly well. 


Good luck!

#16870 mp3 & m4p not a recognized format

Posted by EmaVal on 02 April 2015 - 09:52 PM

Hello, I can't import an MP3 file even if this format should be a recognized format (http://help-nv10mac....io_or_video.htm).
As stated on this link I tried to open it in Quicktime and exported it. As you can see from the attached screenshot, also this solution did not work for me.


Did anyone have the same problem and found a solution?


Bildschirmfoto 2015-04-02 um 13.25.12.png

#16817 Program Design Adds Time to Coding Process

Posted by Boston2014 on 11 March 2015 - 10:26 PM

I switched a few months ago from NVIVO 10 for PC (running on a Mac through Parallels) to NVIVO for Mac. Although I appreciate not using Parallels, which makes most computers run incredibly slow, I have found that NVIVO for Mac takes much more time to code than when I used NVIVO 10 for PC. I know NVIVO for Mac is still in development and I am hoping you consider a few improvements in future updates/versions.


1. It would be helpful if NVIVO for Mac had a “quick coding bar” and allowed code nicknames like NVIVO for PC does. The drag-and-drop coding (node) is a nice feature. However, it can be difficult to use and it increases inaccuracy in coding. Often when a user clicks a highlighted area to drag it, the item will be mistakenly be dropped by the user in the wrong place and/or the user will mistaken click another area and then the text becomes un-highlighted and not coded. The user then needs to go back re-highlight and drag and drop again. It also seems that the drag and drop feature does not allow the user to code a single piece of text with multiple codes at once and/or quickly. I have also tried using the right-click process and code the selection that way using the drop down list, which is also incredibly time consuming (and the codes always default to collapsed view here as well, taking more time to “expand all”). Coding is already a time consuming process and without a quick coding bar/nicknames, using NVIVO for Mac adds significant amount of time to your coding. Users could still use drag-and-drop if they find it useful, while others could use the more reliable and quicker “quick coding bar.”


2. It would be helpful if the Detail View (where nodes are displayed), which can be Expanded/Collapsed, had a default view to whatever the user last used. For instance, when I toggle between free nodes and tree nodes, the program usually returns to a collapsed view. I almost always want to see an expanded view (all my codes), especially if I have to drag and drop text into each one. It takes a good amount of time (and is an annoyance) that when I switch between free nodes and tree nodes that I have to go back and expand the nodes again.

#12901 Naming sources imported from EndNote to author-date-title or as per original...

Posted by david004 on 06 August 2012 - 09:47 AM

Importing references from EndNote. The only option for naming is either Author-date (which comes in with superfluous semi-colons and EndNote record numbers) or Title. Is there some way to name the sources Author-date-title? If not, is there some way to import the file with its original name? If not, can you apply the classification and attributes of an external to an existing internal?

#12806 Node structure and relevant coded text

Posted by Jason Flett on 18 June 2012 - 10:36 AM

Hi all

In response to the previous query that you have raised with us, we have now included two new reports/extracts in NVivo 10. Coding Summary by Source, and Coding Summary by Node, which include the text of the coding reference.

For information on purchasing or upgrading to NVivo 10, or to download a free trial, go to http://www.qsrintern...ucts_nvivo.aspx


#12793 Node structure and relevant coded text

Posted by Marcus Ogden on 07 June 2012 - 03:26 PM

Hi all,

I'm pleased to advise that NVivo 10 (to be released later this month) will include new "Coding Summary by Node" and "Coding Summary by Source" reports, which will include the coded text (organised either by node then source, or vice versa). You can choose which nodes and/or sources to include in the report, and you can save the results to a range of file formats.

@MJ Drennan - What you're asking for ("content with the codes as the secondary pieces of data") is somewhat different to what's being discussed in this thread, but it's also been requested before. One possibility you could consider (depending on the number of nodes involved) is to print with Coding Stripes turned on. We are looking into other ways we could better meet this need.


#18184 bulk/auto group multiple sources that relate to the same entity based on attr...

Posted by QSR Support on 08 February 2017 - 09:27 AM

Hi Adam,


The best approach will depend on how your sources are formatted and how much of your source you wish to code to each case. If you wish to code the entire source to a particular case you can select multiple sources in list view by holding down the CTRL key and then bulk code these to the relevant case.


Please see the following link for details:



If you wanted to code only part of each source to a particular case, then depending on how your source documents are formatted you may be able auto code by source style or structure. To do this your documents will need to be consistently formatted and you’ll need to make use of paragraph styles to denote each speaker. The interview documents in the sample project give an example of how you might format your documents for auto coding. You can find some more details about auto coding by source style or structure at the following link:





#17513 Auto save in mac & "save as" a project

Posted by QSR Support on 18 February 2016 - 03:20 PM

Hi Mary,


NVivo for Mac does not offer the same autosaving functions that NVivo for Windows has, nor can you copy the project in the same manner. However, you can copy and rename the file external to the software.

By default, project files are stored in the Documents folder, and you can copy / rename them using Finder.




#17232 Change the background color

Posted by QSR Support on 22 September 2015 - 03:08 PM

Hi imufe,


NVivo does not natively allow you to change the text and the background color. I'll pass on this suggestion to our product manager for consideration as a possible enhancement in a future release of NVivo.




#16911 mp3 & m4p not a recognized format

Posted by QSR Support on 01 May 2015 - 03:08 PM



If the QuickTime Export option did not help as per the instructions in link http://bit.ly/1PchC2o, please open your video files in QuickTime Player on your Mac and save them in the default format as mentioned by Rosaleen. 
Please find the steps below:
1. In QuickTime player, click on File -> Save 
2. In the window that opens, enter a name for the file, select a location and click Save 
Import the video file into NVivo for Mac from the location you have specified in step 2 above. Please ensure you select the video file that you have exported from QuickTime.
I hope this helps.