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Sources, Nodes, classifications, attributes or attribute values, when to use & how to set up

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I’m trying to set up an Nvivo project for my thesis and am a little confused about how best to use Nodes, classifications and attributes to do what I want before I import to many interviews and begin coding. I’ve tried to number my issues below.


I have semi structured interviews with 1 interview per participant and will end up with around 12 participants. Within the interview I have a few open questions and then the remainder of the questions are based on domains from the Common sense model of self regulation of health and illness CS-SRM. I will be coding the answers to all parts of the interviews to the main domains of this model and also creating sub themes within these domains.


1) for all participants together and for individual participants (e.g. all interview transcripts amalgamated, and for each transcript) I need to be able to view how many CS-CRM domains and how many sub themes within each domain I have coded in the interview sections that relate to open questions and the same data again for the interview sections based on CS-SRM domains. I also need the same data for each participant, irrespective of whether it comes from an open question or not.


1A) Currently I have one data source for each interview, might I be better to have 2 sources for each participant, a source for the open questions and a source for the CS-SRM promoted questions.


2) I have nodes set up for all the themes that I know I will need to code to but I need to be able to I identify what sort of theme it is from the following list.

- CS-SRM domain

- CS-SRM subtheme present in model,

- CS-SRM subtheme emergent from data

- Other theme not related to CS-SRM

To do this would I be best to set up a classification for theme, attribute for theme type and attribute values for all of the above, or set up classification for “Theme type” with a separate attributes for all of the above (and if so what would go in the attribute values)


3) I need to be able to identify for each participant how many of the nodes for my themes with the attribute (or attribute value) “subtheme” have been coded to. I then need to be able to find the same info for groups of participants e.g. particepetn 1&2 1,2&3 1,2,3&4 etc. Any idea how to set up my project to bea ble to do this?





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Hi Ewan,


1) Once you have completed coding, you will need to run Coding and/or Matrix Coding queries between various nodes, attributes and case nodes. For example, run a Matrix Coding query with theme nodes as rows and question nodes as columns and change the matrix cell content to display number of “participant” nodes. This would require that you have coded your themes and also created question nodes that contain responses for your questions. Question nodes are generally created by auto-coding your source file. Refer to the links below for more information:


(Auto coding)

(Matrix coding query)



1a) It’s hard to say what will work best for you but keeping one source file per participant is the common practice.


2) Classifications are used to classify “participant” nodes (sometimes referred to as Case nodes) as opposed to theme nodes which are not classified. Each participant’s source file is coded to its own “participant” node. These “participant” nodes are then classified with demographic data like age, gender. For more information, refer to the links below:




3) You will need to run various Matrix coding queries with combinations of attribute values as rows and theme/participant nodes as columns. You will be able to change the matrix cell content and display the number of sources/nodes etc. coded for each row and column combination.


You may also find these self-help resources useful:

If you would like to take advantage of our training and consultancy services, please refer to: http://www.qsrintern...and-events.aspx





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  • 7 months later...

I am interested in this too... specifically on issues of ratings, like "high, medium and low". I realise that I could make sub-nodes under a conceptual heading with these rating levels, but wonder if it can be done using attributes to reduce the number of nodes created. Please advise if there is a better way of handling values of coded text.



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Hello O Begitu,


Thanks for your query.


There is no issue with having a large number of nodes in your project. But, you can create and assign attribute values for the ratings, depending on the needs of your project. Please feel free to check the following help link for more information on working with attributes:




If you require one-on-one assistance in setting up your project, our training department (training@qsrinternational.com) will be able to assist you further.


Kind regards,


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