NVivo is a powerful piece of software to assist with qualitative research BUT it doesn't do your research for you. I'm firmly of the belief that you should dictate how you do your research not the software. However, NVivo allows you to do all kinds of things with your data which would be difficult to do by hand and which can give you unexpected insights.
So how do you decide which elements of the software to use? This is where I can help. By understanding the nature of your research, your method, your timescale, your expertise in research and use of software, I can suggest the tool in NVivo that will be most useful to you.
In the sections below I suggest so points to consider but in using my services we can work together to decide what works for you and your research.
CHOICE OF NVIVO TOOLS
The key decisions to make when setting up your project and importing data are:
what is in a file and what is it called?
how are you going to segment your data for analysis?
do you have classification data embedded in your text?
do you need to use cases?
what role is memoing going to have in your project?
Practically all projects involve some form of coding which forms the basis of the thematic analysis but how are you going to structure your codes and what text are you going to code?
is your coding based on theory or grounded in the data?
how much data do you have - is it feasible to code it by hand or should you use some form of automated assistance?
do you need to use coding to represent structure?
The key tools used for making sense are querying and visualisation but actually coding can be a very valuable way of developing ideas and theories.
many of the query tools will only be useful if you have coded text to multiple codes (what I call dimensional coding)!
visualisation tools (such as word clouds and maps) are a great way of communicating your ideas and can lead to greater insights but they can be just a pretty picture!
I can help you make the best use of query and visualisation tools for your research.