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Applause for the new NVivo

Written by Kristi Jackson
March 31, 2020
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Kristi Jackson, trusted NVivo expert and trainer has reviewed the new NVivo and shares her thoughts.

A Visual Delight

Import > Organize > Explore!  This is a great new structure for the Navigation of NVivo and the first thing I noticed as I investigated the new interface. The visual separation between the Navigation View, List View,  and Detail View also enhances easy access to the Files, Coding, Cases, Notes, Queries, Visualizations, and more. The icons are crisp. The  labels are uncluttered and easy to identify. It’s all part of the great NVivolution.


In addition to the welcoming visual interface, four other features also caught my attention. First, the new Modules. This optional, cloud-based set of features has been on the wish list of NVivo experts and is sure to create a buzz. More specifically, the ability to collaborate in the cloud with one of the modules will generate new opportunities for teamwork among researchers as they:

  • Easily share their work
  • Creatively build on each other’s thoughts
  • Critically trace the connections between data and ideas


Because of the ease with which the analytical journey can be shared and offered up for feedback and critique, this new feature can contribute to qualitative research transparency while building  warranted conclusions (or theories!) from the data.

Crowdsourcing Digital Methods

Coding should never be the stand-alone pinnacle of qualitative work (more on that in a moment), but many of us do spend a significant amount of time sifting through and coding our data. A few tweaks in the way we handle and view Files while we are coding in NVivo have made a BIG difference in this version:

  • Coding Stripe labels can now be positioned horizontally or vertically
  • Highlighting can be displayed in the text to match the color you assigned to the Code
  • Coding Stripes can be grouped by color, enabling you to drill in on a subgroup for targeted review.


While you’ll hear a lot about the automated coding features in NVivo (and they’re worth exploring), sometimes it’s these simpler things that really make the difference in the daily handling of data. I love the new coding visuals.

Easy Access To See Also Links

Those of you who use the NVivo book, Qualitative Data Analysis with NVivo, will know that “See Also Links” provide an essential tool for thinking qualitatively. My colleague, Pat Bazeley, and I agree that this is one of our favorite tools in the software. (BTW: we’ll be updating our on-line materials for the book this year to match the new version of NVivo!). With “See Also Links”, you create a web of connections between (for instance) a Memo that stores your written ideas and the data or quotes that gave rise to these ideas. Better yet, in NVivo you can export this Memo and all the quotes from all those Files appear as endnotes in a Word document, following your brilliant narrative.
The great new feature in this version of NVivo is an easy access icon at the top of the File to instantly hide/show/access these bits of evidence that are scattered throughout your project. This is where we move from lumping things into piles of Codes to creating threads of connections around interesting ideas.


Being released very soon is the NVivo – Integration. I’ve been given the opportunity to use this and it’s another a feature that I’m excited to show in my trainings and consultancies. NVivo – Integration allows you to send files directly from Microsoft Office . . . including from your tablet! Through the installation of add-ins for programs like Word, Excel, and Outlook, the fuss around where to store files before importing and worrying about whether you’re looking at the file you intended to import are minimized. Simply dive in and get to work.
 The big takeaway after my investigation into the new design is that it is time to applaud everyone involved in the endeavor.

  • User requests for changes have been implemented, and this will be a fluid transition for those who currently use NVivo
  • New users will acclimate with ease to the processes of importing, organizing, and exploring the data with intuitive icons, labels, and paths


At times the software interface will seem to disappear as you work with your data, follow some hunches, and challenge the veracity of your ideas .


Kristi Jackson

Kristi is co-author of Sage Publication’s best-selling Qualitative Data Analysis with NVivo, serves clients in almost every state in the USA, and also works internationally. She founded Queri, a qualitative research consulting firm, in 2002. With over 25 years of experience in qualitative research design, data collection, analysis, reporting, and stakeholder relations, she is an expert in a diverse array of qualitative methodologies. She also has extensive experience in team research and evaluation research. As Chair of the Special Interest Group (SIG) on Digital Tools for Qualitative Research at the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, she continues to cultivate decades of collegial, international relationships with a wide range of stakeholders in the Qualitative Data Analysis Software (QDAS) community. Kristi’s theoretical frames tend to be sociological and her research interests include conceptualizations of qualitative research transparency and the constantly changing spaces where qualitative researchers and technologies meet.

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