Coding with N6
Authors of this page: Graham R. Gibbs and Celia Taylor
Affiliation: University of Huddersfield
Date written: 30th June 2005
You can then select sections of text and assign or link them to these a priori codes. On the other hand N6 supports developing coding directly from the text, where you select some text and then assign a new or existing code to it. One special case of this is in vivo coding where the term or phrase you select is not only coded to the new code but also becomes its name.
N6 call codes 'nodes' and distinguish free nodes and tree nodes. Typically when you first create a node it is a free node which is just kept in a list. Tree nodes have all the properties of free nodes, but in addition they are organized into a hierarchy or tree shown in the Node Explorer like the file and folder hierarchy in Windows Explorer. Free nodes can be made into Tree nodes (and vice versa).
You can create, delete, merge and move nodes and change the text to which they refer. At any time you can browse or display the coded text and change the coding or view it in context. Nodes can also be searched and in this way, along with an inspection of linked data, like memos, the researcher can ask questions of the data and build and test theories.
Creating new codes
Use this approach where you want to create nodes without referring to the text, perhaps because you are guided by some existing theory as to what you expect to find. As you create nodes (by whatever approach) don't forget to keep a record, either as a comment or in a memo of what the code represents and what your thinking about it is.
To create a new free node (code)
- To create a new free node click Make Free Node button () or click Nodes:Make a Free Node
To create a new top level tree node (parent code)
- To create a new top level tree node click Nodes:Make a top-level tree node or in Node Explorer right click Tree Node at the top of the hierarchy and then click Make a top-level Tree Node. See figure 1.
Figure 1. N6 Node explorer window creating a top level tree node
To create a new child node (child code)
- In Node Explorer right click the node in the tree you want to attach a child
- click Make new Tree Node
- click the node in the tree you want to attach a child to
- click Node: Make a new Tree Node below 'Tree Node'.
Create new nodes from the transcripts, including in vivo codes
This is the common, inductive approach. You read the text, get an idea for a node and create a new node and code the text immediately.
To code in vivo
- If you select just a word or short phrase in the Document Browser you can code it in vivo. click the In Vivo button (). The word or phrase selected becomes the code name and the line of text the word or phrase appears in will be coded there.
Otherwise you must create the node first.
To create a new code as you code the text
- Select the passage you want to code in the Browsing Document window
- As you do so the selection will extend to the whole of the lines (paragraphs) you have selected.
- Select the code from the pop-down list at the bottom of the Browsing Document window, click Code.
To examine existing nodes
Once you have created some nodes and/or done some coding, use this approach to explore what nodes you have created.
To examine existing codes
- Open the Node Explorer click Explore Nodes button (). See figure 2.
- click Free Nodes in the window to display the list or click Tree Nodes in the window or one of its children to open up the tree list (or click on the plus sign to open up the tree).
Figure 2. Node Explorer window
Using existing nodes for coding
This is the most common situation, where you have developed most nodes and are simply working through the documents coding their contents.
To code with existing codes
- Select the passage you want to code in the Document Browser. As you do so the selection will extend to the whole of the lines (paragraphs) you have selected.
- Select the code from the pop-down list at the bottom of the window, click Code. If the code is not in the pop-down list then click it in the Node Explorer and click Code.