Organising complex dataset in NVivo 9

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    I have started a new NVivo 9 project and would like some advice regarding organising and managing a complex data set. 

    My PhD project aims to understand the co-creation of value in the socially dense, shared consumption context of festivals. I utilise ethnography-like observation and interview-based methods to get to socially constructed meanings. I have visited 5 festival sites over the summer, observing and interviewing 'cases' of naturally occurring social units – resulting in interviews with individuals, couples and groups of up to 8 people. I ended up with a huge pile of data consisting of Pdfs, photographs, documents with observational data that include descriptions of what goes on, as well as reports on shorter 'chats' with strangers, and additionally, 52 transcripts of semi-structured interviews often with more than one speaker.

    What I have done so far in NVivo was to create separate folders named Interview, Observations, Photos and Documents. I created a case node for each festival site, using attributes to store information about the different sites. I also created a node to represent each of the interview transcripts (and the shorter ‘chats’ within my observational scripts) using attributes to show which site I interviewed them at, what is the size of their social unit, prevalent age, level of ‘festival expertise’ and so on. I placed each interview node under its respective festival node.

    Now I have started coding my materials from the first festival site, I am worried if I have overcomplicated things too much. When it comes to running queries, does placing case nodes within case nodes mean that each count will be duplicated? Is it better to use Sets/Collections to bring together material that relates to each festival site, rather than coding each source with the festival case node?

    Any advice would be much appreciated!




    Hi Ivana,

    Setting up an NVivo database can be a daunting task and it forces you to think about your analytical strategy as you organise your data to optimise the analysis. I think you may have complicated things a little but this is easily fixed. You don’t need case nodes for the festivals. You need an attribute for the person which links them to their festival. If a participant can be involved in multiple festivals we can deal with this by means of additional attributes. If I understand you correctly, the principal unit of analysis is the person, so we build our case nodes around each participant, link all relevant data (images for example) to their case and attributes table (classification sheet).Some studies do require more than one unit of analysis and this is technically possible in NVivo. However, it does make running queries later on a little trickier unless you are quite expereinced in NVivo and I don’t believe it’s necessary in this case based on what you said in your profile and in this post.

    As you’ve booked an hours on-line training/consultation, I will verify this when we work together on the live data next Wednesday. If I understand you correctly, my aim will be to create one set of case nodes around the interviewees, linked to their primary data and a single classification sheet.

    I will update this post If I am incorrect in these assumptions.

    Kind regards,

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