Special strengths in N6
Author of this page: Graham R. Gibbs
Affiliation: University of Huddersfield
Date written: 30th June 2005
Broad brush analysis
A distinctive feature of N6 is that it works on plain text files and can only code whole paragraphs (that can be lines if each line ends with a carriage return). This encourages a much 'broader brush' level of coding that might not suit some research approaches but is very good for dealing with large data sets and analysis that must be done quickly. Like NVivo, N6 can do a variety of matrix searches and if the data are well coded, these can give excellent support to comparative analysis.
Again, like NVivo, N6 supports what the software writers call 'coding on'. The results of any kind of search, text or node, Boolean or proximity, produces a new node with the found text coded to it. This is fixed coding. This means you can 'code on', that is you can go thorough the coded text and alter it as you see fit and even use the node in further searches. However, a disadvantage of this is that should you change the coding for any of the nodes that were included in the original search then this is not reflected in the node created by the original search.
Another distinctive feature of N6 is that is has a command language. This enables analysts with the skills to program the software using simple scripts to automate many of the activities of analysis. Command files can be put to all kinds of inventive uses, such as comparing the coding of two different analysts using the same nodes to see how consistent they are with each other.