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Two analysts coded the same text separately to be able to calculate inter-rater reliability. However, when I merged their two projects, the resulting number of references duplicated, as each of them coded the same piece of text in a similar way. For example, they both coded "I find it difficult to write about what I feel" as "STUDENT'S DIFFICULTIES". The problem is that NVivo says there are TWO references there, but the truth is there is only one.

How can I merge duplicated references to get a more reliable quantification?

Many thanks for your help


Universidad de Chile (Chile); CONICET (Argentina)

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Hi Federico,

This the the expected behaviour of NVivo as the same text has been coded by two different coders. However, for coding comparison query, it would not be an issue because coding comparison looks at the coding done by each user individually.

Refer to the link below if you need detailed information on Coding Comparison query:


If the nodes themselves are getting duplicated, it can occur if the name and/or the hierarchical location of nodes in both projects is not the same. Refer to the link below on how NVivo identifies duplicates when merging:


Kind Regards,



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  • 3 weeks later...

Thank you, Bhupesh.

The problem is that, apart from coding comparison query, I need to quantify the occurrences of each phenomenon. In my example (both assistants coded "I find it difficult to write about what I feel" as "STUDENT'S DIFFICULTIES"), the result is 2 references, but it actually is only one occurrence. This happens even when assistants code the exact same fragment.


So I'd like to know if there is a way NVivo can see that in cases like this there is only 1 reference, not 2, even if two different analysts coded the same thing.


Many thanks,

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  • 3 years later...
  • 1 year later...

Hello @ashley2021,

Please note that Nvivo official help documentation states :

"The Reference tab of a code displays the total number of references for each file. This is based on coding by all users—for example, if two team members have coded the same content to the code, the coded content is counted as two references"

Thus, it is expected to see multiple coders to be reflected on reference count.

However, if you "need to quantify the occurrences of each phenomenon", then you can run a matrix coding query. On results view each coding reference will be counted once.

Please see attached sample project that I created for you.

In this project the exact same text piece was coded by two different users. If you check reference count in list view you will see two references. 

However, if you open recorded matrix coding query result you will see that the results view will indicate one reference.

I hope this helps,


Ashley Sample.nvp

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