Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Make sure your research team's files are NVivo ready

Written for research leaders to copy-and-paste for briefing their field researchers.

If your NVivo project involves working with a team of data-gathering researchers, I would recommend you email them the following:

"Dear Researcher,

Our research project uses the qualitative data analysis software (QDAS), NVivo9, to import and code diverse file types (such as your writings, interview recordings and pictures) into one research file. This makes it more efficient for the analysis team to code data in different file types, whilst enabling analysts to run a range of queries and reports on the file's codings.

Since this software can only import data that is in particular formats, we would appreciate you learning about them below and using only these formats when creating files for us:

Video files
NVivo9 only imports .mpg, .mpeg, .mpe, .wmv, .avi, .qt, .mov and .mp4 files. Please set your recording device to save in one of these formats, wherever possible. Kindly also check that you do not select a high-resolution setting for video as this should prevent the files being too large for the research team to share on its intranet. This also helps us; many large video files (i.e. larger than 40 megabytes) can reduce our NVivo file's responsiveness.

Audio files
For voice recordings, please setup your dictaphone to record interviews in .mp3, .wma or .wav format. Kindly check the quality of the recording is not set too high as this produces files that are too big for the team to share on its intranet or may slow NVivo's responsiveness. 

Written files
NVivo 9 does import Microsoft Word (.doc and .docx), Rich Text Format (.rtf) and Text (.txt) files. Please send us any written work in a Microsoft Word format or export your files to rtf. or .txt before emailing us them.

Picture files
Any images you submit should preferably be in .gif, .jpg, .bmp, .jpeg, .tif or .tiff format. To reduce file size, please check that the image's resolution is not greater than 300 dots per inch (dpi) and image sizes do not exceed 20 cms in either width or height.

Spreadsheet files
In the unlikely event you must submit a spreadsheet, please ensure it is in Microsoft Excel format. 

If you need any help checking, setting-up or converting files into these formats, kindly email me, thanks."

By following these guidelines, your researchers will reduce the time your analysis team must spend encoding the files and getting them NVivo ready. N.B. You may also want to add guidelines for file-naming, too...

Let me know whether this email text was useful to you; type your thoughts in the comment box below. Ta!

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