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NVivo logo Search tools and other devices for rationalising coding schema in NVivo

Use 'Search' tools to gather data together e.g. to find all data coded by detailed codes which are similar, or which you see are beginning to form the basis of a larger category or higher concept.

e.g. 'Union (OR)' search which allows user to select codes from around the coding frame, to find all the data linked to any of them, to create one large new code (or Node), but leaves detail codes/nodes in place. The new node is placed in a hierarchy called Search nodes. When building the search look in the 'Return' box – having created the search expression you can carefully re label the default name which has been given to the node.

e.g. 'Search Results/Union' could become 'Search results/all positive attitudes' 

Codes (nodes) can be moved (copied/cut) out of Search results if it makes sense to do so  and pasted somewhere else in the coding schema

Boolean search in NVivo

Figure 1. Boolean Search in NVivo.


Make collections of nodes

You can drag codes from one place in the coding schema to another, but this changes the structure of your coding schema before you are ready to do that. There might be other ways to rationalize or reshape without losing a good organisational structure.

Use 'Sets of Nodes' (create collections of short cuts to original elements of coding schema) as a way to change things, create new rationalised collections, lay down ‘markers’  without disturbing the original hierarchical structures.

Create a Set, name it by clicking in the Untitled set, and drag individual codes (this copies short cuts only), from their place in the existing structure (which does not change) to the new ‘collection’.  ‘Members’ of the Node sets can be then used  to form the basis of more searches,  or form the basis  node linking where you are writing about certain aspects of your work in NVivo.