NVivo8, released in 2008 by QSR, allows the direct analysis of rich media. Video, audio, digital picture and textual data may all be imported into an NVivo8 project. The non-textual data may be directly coded with or without a transcript. The functionality included in NVivo8 has the potential to enable research projects with a variety of media to be easily analysed using a single tool. This paper explores the reality of this potential by assessing the use of NVivo8 on a longitudinal study of travel podcasts. Although the growth of the online travel market is slowing, it is still expected to grow by 12% in 2009 and the UK is currently the largest online market within Europe. Within this context, web 2.0 and provision for mobile devices are regarded as essential ‘must-haves’ for tourism related organisations. Podcasting (first named in 2004) exemplifies the web 2.0 revolution by combines the editorial aspects of user generated content with the technologies of multimedia and RSS to produce audio or video content. Unlike streaming video services, such as YouTube, the podcast is designed to be downloaded so that it can be viewed or listened to on a variety of devices. The RSS feed allows a subscriber to be automatically notified of the next episode. The study analysed travel podcasts to determine their usefulness for tourism. The research was undertaken by Clare Tagg who mentors the development of online tourism systems for one of the largest suppliers in the UK. She is also an experienced qualitative researcher and has used NVivo8 extensively, but has limited practical experience of analysing multimedia data. George Tagg-Oram is an observer and follower of trends in the field of online media. NVivo8 was selected for this project because of the experience of the researcher and NVivo8’s capability to handle a variety of different types of media. For the travel podcast project a sample of podcasts from the ‘Places and Travel’ section of the ‘Society and Culture’ category in the iTunes Store were studied. The material collected for each podcast consisted of two video or audio episodes collected in November 2008 and April 2010) and supporting material stored as pictures including the iTunes store advert and the associated websites. This paper discusses how the use of NVivo8 impacted on the travel podcast project during project formulation, data collection, analysis and the presentation of the results. The paper discusses the effect of these impacts on the project and identifies the extent to which the cause is technical or human. (.pdf 1.1MB)
In 2005 the British Government published proposals for a radical reform of the education system for 14-19 year olds - the 14-19 Reform. The Qualifications & Curriculum Authority (QCA) is the public body tasked with this redevelopment of the curriculum, qualifications and their assessment. The Reforms are being introduced into schools, colleges and training centres between 2008 and 2013. REMS is a Research Evidence Management System designed to make strategic use of the evidence produced on the 14-19 Reform, to influence and inform policy development and ensure it is evidence-based. REMS is a qualitative meta-analysis project supported by the use of NVivo8. Secondary data consisting of policy documents, monitoring, research and evaluation reports and commentary and media articles is classified and coded to form an evidence base. The analysis tools in NVivo8 are used to produce briefing papers on urgent issues, identify emergent trends and develop evidence-informed policy as the reforms are implemented and evaluated. The size and longitudinal nature of the project requires a disciplined team approach to the use of software. The nature of the data and the requirements of the stakeholders led to a stylised but effective use of NVivo8. (.pdf 983KB)
When teaching people how to use qualitative software, a number of factors influence what functions in the software are covered and how these functions will be used. This paper will discuss the teaching of short intensive small group courses on qualitative software and identify the factors that influence the structure of the course and the material covered. Clare Tagg has taught QSR software (N4, N5, N6, NVivo2, NVivo7 and NVivo8) to small groups of researchers in Universities and Research Organisations for 15 years. Participants have had various levels of research experience including members of faculty with extensive qualitative experience and Masters and first year PhD students. Participants have also come from a wide range of disciplines. The design of each course is generally different to meet the needs of the group, their experience, the practical facilities and when known, the requirements of their project. This paper will use records of past courses to identify the elements taught and the reasons for the selection of topics and ordering. The paper will compare the impact of the software user interface, structure, terminology, concepts and features by comparing the teaching of similar courses in N6 and NVivo7. The paper will conclude by reflecting on the impact of course design on the use that participants make of qualitative software and the impact that this has on their research. (.pdf 1.4MB)
Adopting new software is always a risk – particularly where time is tight and pressure for delivery is high. Here we briefly explore the reasons why we chose to adopt Nvivo7, some of the challenges we faced and how we made it work for us. (.doc 40KB)
QSR have provided Merge tools for combining NUD*IST or NVivo projects. These tools appear to offer team research projects the option to develop work separately and combine it for cross-analysis. Although the Merge tools are easy to use, effective use imposes some limitations on the use of QSR software. This paper discusses four strategies for using Merge effectively in team research. (.pdf 164KB)
Many managers undertake 'research' in the course of their normal work-for planning, problem solving market research and decision-support-in which they have to gather information which enables decisions to be taken about a course of action. However, from our experience the methods they employ are dominated by quantitative techniques, augmented by an interview or questionnaire survey from which much qualitative data remains unused. Yet many of the issues managers investigate are complex, messy, and involve a range of stake-holders with different concerns and perceptions. These are circumstances in which qualitative research could offer a richness and depth of understanding unlikely to be achieved with quantitative approaches. This paper describes three cases in which the authors supported practising managers in their wish to identify and use qualitative approaches in their 'research'. We describe the processes which took place and the managers' experience of using the qualitative approaches. We then reflect on the potential and the problems for the wider use of qualitative research methods by managers.
The way in which a particular software package is used encapsulates a model of the research method. This model provides a way of reasoning about the research method and of exploring its strengths and limitations. Moreover, the more generic qualitative data analysis packages allow for many models and thus exploring the capabilities of the software informs the design of the research method. Thus the software encourages the researcher to be more precise about their research method. The paper argues that this interplay between the model (as represented by the software) and the research method enhances the research process. (.doc 136kB)
The discipline of information systems straddles the scientific and engineering research traditions of computer science and the more pluralist research approaches of the social sciences. As a consequence while research methods have a higher profile than in computer science, they have not yet reached the established maturity found in the social science disciplines. So, although research method is discussed in the information systems literature, there is a paucity of texts on research method or of detailed explanations and justifications for research method in the literature. This is particularly true of research that uses qualitative approaches. For researchers in information systems, particularly those with a computer science background or based in computer science departments, this poses particular problems. These problems are particularly acute for research students because of their limited timescales and relative inexperience. This paper explores this issue by considering one student’s search for an appropriate research paradigm for a PhD on the human aspects of software development. Presented at first UKAIS conference, Cranfield UK, 10-12 April 1996 . Commended as most innovative research paper. (.txt 44KB)

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