Skip to Main Content


This guide will introduce you to NVivo, a qualitative data analysis (QDA) tool that helps organize, analyze, and visualize qualitative data such as interviews.

Common Functions of NVivo

Basic Project Tasks:

  • Creating a new project file and importing research materials
  • Coding data
  • Capturing thinking in memos
  • Creating cases for each participant
  • Creating or editing a classification (e.g., a person classification to capture demographic characteristics) and linking it to each case
  • Running queries
  • Visualizing data
  • Saving and backing up the project

To create a new project file and import research materials:

  • Open NVivo 
  • Select the Blank Project tile and enter the file name, description, and location on your computer for the file.
  • From the Import tab, select Files
  • Select the files to be imported and click the Import button.

To begin your project in NVivo, see the video below.

What is qualitative data analysis or QDA?

Qualitative data is non-quantifiable data collected from resources such as interviews or surveys that researchers analyze by creating a structured, valid and consistent (reliable) Coding Scheme.

Use the resources below to get started with your QDA.

Understand nodes, cases, relationships, and coding

You code your sources to gather material about a topic and store it in a container called a node. As you explore your sources, you select content and code it at a node. When you open any type of node you can see all the references in one place— allowing you to reflect on the data, develop your ideas, compare attitudes and discover patterns.

NVivo Coding Hierarchy 


  • Nodes represent themes, topics, concepts, ideas, opinions or experiences.
  • For example, you could create the node water quality and as you explore your sources (documents, PDFs, datasets, audio, video or pictures) you could code all references to water quality at the node.


  • Cases represent your units of observation—a case might be a person, place, site, organization or any other entity.
  • Cases are a special type of node because you can classify them then assign attributes (variables) such as age, gender or location.


  • Relationships are where you can record statements or hunches you have developed about how items in your project are connected.
  • When you create relationships between case nodes, you can generate sociograms to visualize and analyze the connections between your cases.

For visualizations of each click here.

Use the linked resources below to begin coding your data. 


Queries provide a flexible way to gather and explore subsets of your data. In NVivo, you can create queries to:

  • Find and analyze the words or phrases in your sources, annotations, and nodes. You can find specific words or those that occur most frequently.

  • Ask questions and find patterns based on your coding and check for coding consistency among team members.

 Query Types

See NVivo's query guide for greater detail.

For more information, watch the video series linked below.



Use NVivo to visualize your qualitative data into word frequency charts, graphs, and much more.

NVivo Visualization Types:

Watch this video to create visualizations with NVivo.