NVivo and categories of quotes

Jun 18 2019
NVivo and categories of quotes

This post briefly describes my experience of using cases and classifications in NVivo, to help form categories of data. In my research I use phenomenography methods, but any qualitative analysis would benefit from this. I’m only a beginner, so probably have a lot more to discover in this technique.

Ive investigated using cases and classifications with attributes to compile the relevant quotes for phenomenographic categories of experience variation. I’m not quite sure yet if I’ve made the right decisions on how to design the information but I believe I’ll be able to change this without too much hassle later.

Cases are just nodes that can have other information attached to them. This information (I am assuming) can then be used for further analysis if desired. A case can be classified using a set of attributions, thereby making it definable and ‘labeled’. For my work, I won’t need to further analyse the interview quotes with NVivo, but I want NVivo to help me collect relevant quotes into the categories I have made, and these categories have further child categories in them (with attributes). The main reason I’m doing this is that it saves a lot of time. I only have to select the quote and drop it into the nominated category (parent case) and then if required any relevant child category (child case).

After I’ve done this I’m able to export as a word document all the quotes for each case. This means I immediately have collections of quotes that can be further sorted and displayed, for example, placed in tables with additional relationships, comments and highlights. My intention now is to create tables for each child case and for the overall parent case that are like this, showing relevant quotes, similarities and differences to other quotes, and highlighted ‘best sections’. I can then fully demonstrate how my thinking worked for the analysis, so that the categories that have emerged out of these quotes can be clearly shown. This will help the second reviewer who will eyeball what I’ve done and make decisions on my choices and sections and reasoning. This really helps to validate thew quality of the analysis.


Two images that show the classification sheet – the overview of a classification, with multiple attributes. Im sure there are better ways of doing this but this is how I’m currently doing it for categories of experience variation for a smart learning journey activity.

The case classification, with multiple attributes

Closeup of the classification sheet

The first image shows the case classification on the left of the workspace, and the attribute inputs on the right. This attribute table is shown in more close up in the second image. Remember that the classification is different to the ‘case’, so when you add quotes to the case node, you need to display that on the left (to speed up drag and drop). These are accessed using the left most navigation menu in the workspace. Remember: you can’t add quotes to the classification, only to the case. The case has the classification, and the classification has attributes. Hope that makes sense!

Img Maarten van den Heuvel / Unsplash

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