Software Tools for Linguistic Anthropology

NVIVO 7 (FORMERLY NUDIST)

PURPOSE: Used to create an integrated database that can be searched qualitatively.

BASIC OVERVIEW

· Nodes: while your raw data files are saved under sources-documents (and your audio files under sources-external files), pretty much everything else you do to integrate these files will be called a “free node.” Free nodes can be combined together or with other search results to form “tree nodes.” The appropriate combination of “tree nodes” is what will make your project work in this database.

· CASES/ATTRIBUTES: making “cases” stores individual’s characteristics as “attributes” so that they are later searchable (basically its a way to create your own statistical categories): classifications / rt click-add attributes-grades (ABCD)/ go to source-project-set as cases and now you can find these under ‘nodes’ / highlight name-project-case properties.

· LINKS: Can make “linked memos” which differ from “annotations.” Linked memos are available in a database together and may be good to search for common themes, but annotations are within each document. The text that you are commenting on in the document is highlighted. Can connect to “see also” and create hyperlinks to other pieces of audio/visual data within the database. (you can see all of the links in the entire project, too)

· CODING: “coding” function takes themes directly out of the text and makes it searchable; creates new “free node” for everything you choose. “free nodes” can be turned into “tree nodes” and then made into “coding stripes” (which will display percentages...for instance, how many files a certain word or phrase is drawn from) Anything made into a heading can be dropped into a folder/node (thus what the heading thing is for) and then searched/compared automatically across files (like between all interviews).

· SEARCHING: can save searches as “nodes.” Can search for words or include the paragraphs surrounding the word in results data for comparison. Always displays “relevance” as well as a percentage amount of text that’s taken out that concerns the topic. Can also do “coding” searches/ “text+coding” searches/ cool matrix things that make tables that you can shade. b/c all documents are there and everything is interconnected, you’ve got a means by which to produce a bunch of interactive charts, graphs, tables and percentages.

POSITIVES

· Everything is MS Word compatible. If all transcripts are done in word then they are imported very easily. If transcripts/notes are done within the program with the “heading” function, it makes them searchable by heading later.

· Creates interactive database with image/audio/video files so that everything is integrated in one place. Audio and image files are pretty easily imported and can be opened using nonmicrosoft software.

· “Queries” and coding can make it super easy to produce a bunch of interactive charts, graphs, tables and percentages. Percentages pop up automatically with searches, and tables pop up automatically with “matrix” searches. The other two are created by clicking on the heading

NEGATIVES

· learning the terminology

· learning what to combine/where/how into nodes/tree nodes. The “queries” that produce the most interesting results come from instances in which all of the information has already been placed into “tree nodes.” This type of production will be central to using this program to your advantage.

*NOTE*

The case they give you to search is pretty awesome because it’s already been worked on in such a way that it produces awesome results. Building a project from the ground-up may not produce such easily accessible search results.

(Melissa Maceyko, 2006)