NVivo Terminology



Aggregate Aggregating nodes will allow you to suck all the data coded at the child nodes into the parent node. Once you aggregate a parent node it will pull up any new data that you add to any of its child nodes or any new child nodes that you add in the future. Aggregating will affect queries that you run, for instance you can run a query on a parent node and it will include all the child nodes. However, if you have coded the same source at multiple levels of this hierarchy, the source will be counted multiple times.
Annotation Creating an annotation is akin to writing a short note in the margins of a book. It is a good way to add additional information to a source that is or might become useful. (Source: Johnny went to college, Annotation: He attended Columbia University). This is different from a "See also link" because it is a short comment on a piece of data.
Attribute(s) Attributes are classifications that do not change for each case and can be given on a personal level or an institutional level. Examples: gender, age, funding, orientation, marital status, etc.
Auto Coding Auto coding your data may be an option for some of your imported items, such as surveys and interviews. By right-clicking on an item and choosing the option "auto code", NVivo will automatically code the source by any Heading Levels or Paragraph Styles.
Case A case is a way of organizing your data by high-level characteristics, or characteristics that can be applied to an entire project, such as demographic information. Each case has a structured hierarchy: Classifications -> Attributes -> Values.
Child Node In a node hierarchy, a child node is a sub-node of a parent node. If you have a large hierarchy, a child node can also be considered a parent node if it contains its own child nodes.
Classification Classifications are meant to store descriptive information about your sources, cases, or relationships. There is no limit to how many classifications you can have in a project.
Coding When you analyze your data and begin creating nodes for certain themes, topics, or cases, this is called coding. This can also be referred to as "tagging".
Coding Color Coding colors refer to the color of the Coding Stripes of Nodes. These colors can be set when creating a node or by editing an existing node. If no color is set, the colors will revert to default colors (and will not remain consistent). Coding colors are only visual aids, and unless you love to color code data, will probably be of little use.
Coding Density Coding density refers to a particular coding stripe option.  If you select this option one additional coding stripe will be visible that will mark the density of coding done on a particular source. For instance, a heavily coded paragraph of a source will be represented as a dark section on the coding density stripe, where a paragraph absent of any coding will be represented as a light section on the coding density stripe. 
Coding Spread Coding Spread is the same as "Context Spread". They both refer to the text surrounding the text that has been coded into a node. There are five different coding spreads you can choose to view: "None", "Narrow" (~5 words), "Broad" (full paragraph), "Custom", and "Entire Source".
Coding Stripes Coding stripes serve as visual aids to your NVivo project, as well as helpful coding/uncoding options. They highlight the nodes that you have already coded (either by default color or the color you set to the node). Via right-clicking on the stripe you can uncode a piece of data, open a node, or highlight the piece of data which was coded.
Coding Structure Coding Structure refers to the skeleton of your project. If, for instance, you want to use the same node structure of one NVivo project in another project, you may share the coding structure by exporting it into the new project.
Collection(s) Collection(s) is a tab in the Navigation View. By selecting this tab you will be able to easily view the items of your project grouped into specific categories such as "Sets", "Nodes", "Sources", "Memo Links", "See Also Links", and "Annotations".
Context Spread Context Spread is the same as "Coding Spread". They both refer to the text surrounding the text that has been coded into a node. There are five different context spreads you can chose to view: "None", "Narrow" (~5 words), "Broad" (full  paragraph), "Custom", and "Entire Source".
Data Set A data set refers to an excel sheet in which you have both quantitative and qualitative data, such as an organized list of survey answers. NVivo is capable of auto-coding the information that is organized in a data-set. When importing a data-set, there will be a special "Data-Set Import Wizard". Keep in mind, you cannot edit a data-set once it has been imported, so make sure your excel sheet is properly edited before you import it.
Detail View When you double-click to open a source, node, or memo from the List View, it will open in the previously blank space, which is called the Detail View. You can open more than one item at a time and move between them by clicking on the appropriate tab. When you are finished with an item, you can right-click on the tab and choose to "Close" it, or you can press the "X" in the upper right hand corner of the Detail View ribbon. You may also choose to undock the Detail View, which will open it as a separate window, in which you can work.
Dynamic Model A Dynamic Model allows you visualize your data in a model form that may be altered to be visually appealing and also altered by your progress in your NVivo Project. A Dynamic Models contain links to your project items and will respond to any changes you make to those project items. You do have the option to unlink certain project items as well.

Event Log

Event logs track your progress and can be useful if, for instance, you accidentally delete a portion of your project.  You can discover in the logs when you deleted it and then go to your dated back-up files and re-integrate it. In order for event logs to track your progress you must check the appropriate box when creating a project.
Extracts An extract allows you to export a collection of your data from NVivo in a text, Excel, or XML format. You can either choose to use one of NVivo's predesigned formats, or you can create your own with the aid of the "Extract Wizard".
Generalization(s) This is a setting on a text search query which will allow you to look at the hierarchy of your word, for example "fish" would gather words of that hierarchy and include words such as animal, creature, etc.
Heading Levels Heading Levels are options that are available in Word Processor. If heading levels are used on data, such as surveys or questionnaires, before importation into NVivo, the NVivo software can recognize these heading levels and allow for Auto Coding. These may also be referred to as "paragraph styles".
List View When you click on a folder in the Navigation View it will open in the List View window. This view will allow you to access all the sub-folders and their items, add new sub-folders and items, or edit the properties of any sub-folders or items. When you double-click on an item it will open in the Detail View.
Manual Coding Manual coding refers to the act of coding data by carefully reading through your sources and entering the data into new or existing nodes. It is a good idea to consider putting all of these manually coded nodes in their own sub-folder within the "Nodes" folder (labeled manual, themes, etc) in order to keep them separate from the nodes that have been created via mining with queries.
Matrix A matrix is a visual aid. It is a grid that provides a way to summarize source materials, nodes, sets, or other data by case and theme. Matrices can also help you to get familiar with your data, see patterns and overlaps, such as how different themes relate to one another or to a particular case, person, or institution. It is also useful for sifting through a vast amount of information and making easy comparisons.
Memo (Link) A memo is a source you can create in order to store information on your project (such as a journal memo, to-do list memo, etc) or information about your sources (such as issues, comments, etc). A memo link can be created from any memo or any source. Each source or node may only have one memo link attached to it.
Model A model is one of the visual tools that NVivo provides. Models can be used to represent all types of data and can be useful for re-imagining your data, identifying new patterns, or sharing your data in a visual way. Models can be easily arranged and altered to be more visually appealing for presentations.
NCapture NCapture is a web browser extension tool that enables you to take a snapshot of a website and bring that information into NVivo as a data-set source to be coded and analyzed. It can import articles, blog posts, and information from social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
Navigation View The Navigation View allows you to move easily between the different folders of your project. It is comprised of two parts: The lower section allows you to navigate between different items such as "Sources" or "Nodes", when you click on which group you want, the top section will pull up the corresponding folders in the "List View". By right-clicking in this upper section you may add new folders or sub-folders to this section.
Nickname When creating a node there is a section where you can give the node a nickname. Ideally the actual name of the node should be explanatory and clear, therefore rendering any nickname redundant.  However, this option is available if a node name is too difficult to remember, needs to be differentiated for some reason, or if you so desire.
Node A node is like a container for qualitative data (themes, concepts). It is a way to tag your data and sources in order to find and analyze trends or patterns. When you code information at a node it may appear that you are moving your data from its original source, but really you are simply adding tags to the source.
Node Classification Classifying nodes allows you to record information about people, institutions, or other cases, for example classifying a person as male or female.
Node Hierarchy A node hierarchy is a way of organizing your nodes in order to consider parent and child nodes. Think of your node hierarchy as a system of boxes where the parent node is the largest box and is capable of containing multiple child nodes, each which are capable of containing their own child nodes.
Node Structure The node structure can be thought of as the skeleton of your NVivo coding. It refers to the structure that develops as you add and organize nodes.  If you or someone else likes your node structure it is possible to import the structure into a new project to be used again.
Parent Node In a node hierarchy, the parent node is the largest and broadest container. If you have a large hierarchy, a child node can also be considered a parent node if it contains its own child nodes.
Qualitative Qualitative data is the sort of data which will answer "how" and "why" questions. In a survey, qualitative data will be open answers. This ability to code qualitative data is what makes NVivo unique.
Quantitative Quantitative data is data which is set. In a survey, quantitative data will consist of forced answers, such as yes or no answers, or answer questions such as "how many" and "how often".
Query Running a query is a quick way of sifting through large amounts of data and discovering themes and patterns. NVivo has seven distinct types of queries that you can run. The results of a query can be placed in nodes if you select the "Add to Project" option when setting up the query.
Relationship A relationship is a special type of node that allows you to define the connection between two items in your project. It can also be created in order to gather data that supports or exhibits a certain relationship in one location.  There are three main types of relationships: "one-way", "associative", and "symmetrical".
Report A report monitors your progress. Running a report will allow you to view the frequency of themes in your project and clearly present your findings. NVivo provides a number of report templates you can use, or you can create your own report template with the help of the "Report Wizard".
Ribbon The ribbon refers to the top option bar of NVivo. From this bar, all the command options of NVivo can be easily located under the grouping tabs: File, Home, Create, External Data, Analyze, Query, Explore, and Layout.
See Also Link A See Also Link allows you to connect two different items in your project, such as text in one source to a picture in another source.  They can be extremely useful for connecting a source item to a memo, where you can capture any interesting thoughts you had, and then this memo can be easily exported to a word document where you will have your notes and the source displayed.  A great tool for making your thoughts and the catalysts of these thoughts available to you for the writing process. A See Also Link is different from an "Annotation" because it creates a bridge between the data and the memo.
Set Sets are a flexible way to organize and group items. They can be useful if you want another team member to look over certain items.  They can also be used to lump items together for closer analysis, such as if you have multiple interviews of one subject, you can lump all these interviews into one set.
Source Classification Classifying sources allows you to add bibliographic details to that source. You are able to separate your sources by type (newspaper article, interview, book, etc), add attributes (author and date), and add values (Allen Ginsberg, 1955).
Specialization(s) This is a setting on a text search query which will allow you to look at types of your word, for example "fish" would lead to words found that are types of fish, such as Salmon, Haddock, etc.
Static Model A Static Model is a snapshot of a model; it cannot be altered. There are no links to project items as there are in a Dynamic Model so this model will not be altered by further work done in NVivo. This type of model is ideal for tracking the progress of your project if you periodically create them.
Tagging When you analyze your data and begin creating nodes for certain themes, this is called tagging. This can also be referred to as coding.
Theme A theme is a recurring concept in your data, you may know the themes you are interested in before sifting through your sources, or you may discover them while sifting through your sources. When you discover a certain theme you would like to investigate you should code it as a node.
Tree Map A tree map is one of the visual aids that NVivo provides. They can be used to view comparisons of nodes, sources, or attribute value combinations. The tree map will provide your audience with an idea of how often a certain node comes up in your set of data versus other nodes, or the quantity of different types of sources you have.
Uncode Uncoding is the act of removing information from a node.  There are two main ways to uncode data, by highlighting the selection, right-clicking, and uncoding via unchecking the box(es) you wish to uncode at, or by right clicking on the corresponding coding stripe, selecting the uncode option, and unchecking the appropriate boxes.
Value(s) A value corresponds to the attribute it describes. For instance if the attribute is gender then the value could be male or female, or if the attribute is institution, the value could be public or private.