AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators

Oct/11

30

Käri Greene on NVivo

My name is Käri Greene and I’m a Senior Research Analyst at Program Design & Evaluation Services, an intergovernmental agency for the Oregon Public Health Division and Multnomah County Health Department. I first started using software with qualitative data analysis back when the main QSR product was called NUD*IST. And I’ll admit – I got a lot more attention when I said I “did research on HIV risk behaviors in NUD*IST” than I do now that the software has the less racy name of NVivo.

In applied public health, our qualitative evaluation projects tend to be relatively straightforward. We do not delve into existential questions or build elaborate theories. Instead, we have evaluation clients in public health departments who need to use our findings for policy-making and program design or improvement. But I have still found value in using Nvivo in my routine qualitative inquiries.

While some may debate the value of software in qualitative analysis, I have found benefit and utility using NVivo in my everyday evaluation practice, by increased efficiency, transparency, and responsiveness. Using NVivo has helped me manage and document my analytic process, from the initial coding process to the data visualization and report writing.

For example, the qualitative coding process can appear to be a “magical, artistic step” to clients, program staff, or even fellow evaluators. But NVivo has helped make the process more transparent and accessible by allowing me to quickly and easily call up data to respond to client questions like “did respondents on Medicaid talk about health reform differently than privately-insured respondents?” With NVivo I am able to offer an immediate response as well as the supporting data, which is invaluable for building trust and validation with evaluation clients.

Rad ResourceThe QSR NVivo online forum offers tips, suggestions, and answers from thousands of users.

Rad Resource: If you’re on the LinkedIn networking site, the NVivo Users Group connects you to users to find solutions to your questions.

Hot tip:  Use a “great quotes” code in your coding structure for finding that perfect quote later when you are writing up your reports and manuscripts.

This contribution is from the aea365 Tip-a-Day Alerts, by and for evaluators, from the American Evaluation Association. Please consider contributing – send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. Want to learn more from Käri? She’ll be presenting as part of the Evaluation 2011 Conference Program, November 2-5 in Anaheim, California.

 

 

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1 comment

  • Kath McNiff · November 2, 2011 at 5:49 am

    Hi Kari – great points about using NVivo for efficiency and transparency – and good on you for pointing out that coding doesn’t have a to be a mysterious ‘artistic’ step! I like your hot tip too.

    Thanks,
    Kath

    Reply

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