What is NVivo?

NVivo is a software tool produced by QSR International for storing, organising and querying non-numerical or unstructured data. It has been designed for qualitative researchers working with text-based and/or multimedia information, where deep levels of analysis on small or large volumes of data are required. The software allows users to:

  • Classify, sort and arrange many types of non-numerical data such as field notes, videos, audio recordings, transcripts, spread sheets, databases, etc.
  • Examine relationships between the data.
  • Manage and analyse the data to determine patterns and themes.

Note: La Trobe University has a license for NVivo 11 Pro.

Why NVivo?

NVIVO can be useful at all stages of a research project, from design to publishing results. It can add breadth and depth to research queries. It can integrate a variety of documents and sources of information, help you organise information into themes and concepts, and run analysis of text and relationships between topics that would be more difficult (or even impossible) to perform manually.

Some of the advantages of using NVivo for qualitative data analysis, and an overview of how it can be helpful at different stages of a project, can be found in the PDF below.

How to download NVivo

La Trobe students and staff can download a licensed copy of NVivo from the Student IT support site. Both Mac and Windows versions are available.

Staff members can also use the Microsoft System Center (from 'All Programs' in the 'Start' menu, only in La Trobe computers) to download NVivo.

How to use this guide

This guide is an introduction to NVivo and does not cover all of its many capabilties. It is designed to get you started with the software. The online video tutorial below provided by QSR 'NVivo Pro 11 for Windows Overview' is a good introduction. It covers the basics of NVivo software, including how to create a project file, how to import sources, how to code and organise nodes, how and when to use classifications and attributes, and how to run queries. You may want to watch the video tutorial before reading through this guide.

This guide can also be a quick reminder if you have not used NVivo recently. There are PDFs which give further information and instructions for you to download as needed throughout.

When you open NVivo 11 Pro after installation you have the option of creating a sample project created by QSR. If you have not used NVivo before, this is a recommended option as it will allow to you see and explore an existing project before designing and creating your own. You may wish to experiment with the sample project as you work through this guide.

Note: La Trobe University library provides a more detailed video introduction to NVivo, which can be accessed here. This video is based on NVivo 10. Most basic processes function in the same way or very similarly.

Further resources and training opportunities

The Library organises regular face to face and online training sessions. To check training dates and for more information, visit the Library Research Smart Training site.

The QSR International website is also full of resources, support and online tutorials. These resources can also be accessed from the Learn and Connect tiles on the start page of NVivo 11.

Finally, the La Trobe library has copies of Pat Bazeley and Kristi Jackson's book 'Qualitative data analysis with NVivo' (2013).