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Coding is the process of organizing your data (highlighting a specific section of text or a picture that is important to your study) into Nodes (or major themes) within your project.

Coding Skills in NVivo

For this strategy you attach codes to units of data as you analyze your files.

How to in NVivo:

1. Select Nodes in Navigation View

2.Highlight the group of text you want to code in the file, drag and drop it into the List View. You will be prompted to "drag selection here to code to a new node"

3. In the node description box you will be prompted to provide a node title and description (optional)

4. Click ok

For this strategy you have a pre-determined hierarchy of nodes created prior to data analysis. 

Directions in NVivo:

1. From the create tab, select node

2. In the Node dialogue box enter a name and description (optional)

3. Ensure you select the "aggregate coding from child node" box if you would like to incorporate child nodes into parent nodes

4. Select OK

Directions in NVivo:

1. In List View, select the nodes to be renamed.

2. Right click* and select node properties (*note these directions may be different for a Mac computer)

3. Enter changes to name, and select OK

You may notice that after creating multiple nodes you have created two similar nodes and need to merge the nodes together into 

To merge two nodes: 

1. In List View, select the nodes to be merged into another node

2. Right click and select Cut

3. Select the destination node

4. Right click and select merge into selected Node OR Merge into New Child Node 

5. Select the checkboxes for the options you wish to be included in the merge

6. Click OK

To delete a node:

1. In List View, right click on a Node.

2. Select Delete.

A node can also be deleted by selecting it and hitting the Delete key on your keyboard. All coding will be lost for deleted nodes, you may be interested in renaming or merging nodes instead. 

You might need to uncode a reference from a file or a node because you coded it to the wrong node, or decided it did not fit with that node (theme) properly. 

To uncode a reference from a file:

1. Open the file and select the reference to be uncoded 

2. From the document tab, select Uncode

3. In the select project Items dialogue box, tick the node/s you want to uncode from and click OK


To uncode a reference/s from a node:

1. Open the node and select the reference to be uncoded. 

2. From the node tab, select uncode

3. In the select project items dialogue box, tick the node/s you want to uncode from and click OK

You may want to go into more depth with a node (theme) and break it down into smaller themes, for example:


To do this:

 you can create all nodes at the same level and drag the child nodes (negative and positive experiences) and drop them over the parent node (mentoring)

For more help:

Check out the QSR coding webpage for more help on how to do basic and advanced coding techniques.


How To Create Codes in NVivo

Coding is the process of organizing your data into Nodes within your project. 

Generally there are two main methods of coding in NVivo:

Deductive Coding: Nodes are pre-developed from a list often derived from a literature review.

Inductive Coding: Nodes are created throughout the coding process and are often derived from the data (ex: interviews you are studying)

Reference Books and Database Suggestions for Advancing Coding Skills

Sage Encyclopedia of Qualitative Research Methods

Given, L. (2008). The SAGE encyclopedia of qualitative research methods. Los Angeles [i.e. Thousand Oaks, Calif.]: SAGE Publications.

Sage Research Methods

SAGE Research Methods is a tool with more than 1000 books, reference works, journal articles, and instructional videos created to help researchers, faculty and students with their research projects. Users can explore methods concepts to help them design research projects, understand particular methods or identify a new method, conduct their research, and write up their findings. Since SAGE Research Methods focuses on methodology rather than disciplines, it can be used across the social sciences, health sciences, and other areas of research.

Qualitative Inquiry

Can be ordered via Interlibrary Loan.

Qualitative Research for the Social Sciences

Lichtman, M. (2017). Qualitative research for the social sciences.