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Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 8.24.14 PMI am making great progress to date on my dissertation. I chose to use NVivo for data analysis on my Mac and I have some critiques.

First, if you plan to use NVivo I would highly suggest using it on a PC instead of a Mac. There are many more resources and how to videos available for PC use than Mac use. Though some of the same strategies work on the Mac, they don’t work as well. For example, on a PC you can drag and drop your text into nodes; on a Mac it is best to right click to purge them into the nodes.

Second, you should not be expecting NVivo to do the coding for you. NVivo is able to identify repeating words, not repeating thoughts or concepts. Your computer can not comprehend a thought, it can only execute commands. You still need to read and re-read your data to properly complete the data analysis process.

Now you may be wondering if NVivo does not actually analyze the data then what good is it, why should you purchase it right? NVivo is great for keeping everything organized without having to remember specific numerical codes. This is enough for me to use it. Remember, I only have the “Mac Experience” so it may work completely differently on a PC, which would explain why it is more expensive for the PC.

I like how you can transcribe an interview within the program and then export it to a word document for participants to review. Again, this command works differently on a Mac versus a PC.

After I transcribed my interviews I began reviewing the and placing them into nodes. Once I organized the interviews into broad categories I took and reviewed each node/category to identify subcategories. Once I completed the subcategory coding I went back into them and made a word document to group the subcategories into related topics to identify the re-occuring themes and how often they reoccured.

NVivo is a useful program for organization of analysis. The program cannot do a qualitative analysis automatically.

Nicole A. C. Syms August 13, 2015 Post Reply


Thanks for your review. I too used NVivo for my qualitative data analysis and had some of the same issues. My immediate problem with the program is that I am Caribbean-born and so are my research participants so while the program is designed to highlight specific words...once there exists the slightest variance from what the program recognizes as "proper" it will not record it. I ended up coding manually.

I did however utilize the program for organization purposes - very beneficial in that area.

    admin August 13, 2015 Post Reply

    I would not have even thought of that. My mentor tried to use NVivo with her dissertation several years ago and this problem existed back then. You would think they would want to make some upgrades; they upgraded their book. Interesting.

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