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Qualitative Coding: Start

This workshop is part of the Qualitative Research series. Many qualitative researchers are interested in evaluating, interpreting and explaining social phenomena. They analyze unstructured or semi-structured data like interviews, surveys, field notes,

Qualitative Coding


Coding Qualitative Data Using NVivo

Qualitative Coding is a core strategy for qualitative data analysis in which some aspects of a data is assigned a descriptive label that allows the researcher to identify related content across the data.

SImply put, Qualitative coding involves creating and assigning codes to categorize data extracts and derive themes.

What methodologies does NVivo support?

Researchers usually adopt a qualitative methodology to suit their research question. For example, a social scientist wanting to develop new concepts or hypotheses may take a ‘grounded theory’ approach. A health researcher looking for ways to improve policy or program design might use ‘evaluation methods’. NVivo does not favor a particular methodology no matter what method you use. It is  designed to facilitate common qualitative techniques for organizing, analyzing and sharing data.


• Prepare your interview/focus group transcriptions

• Prepare a coding table based on your first impression from your transcriptions.


• Step I. Import Data: Import the document/transcriptions you intend to use and this will become you coding source(s) as you get along with coding

• Step 2. Set up a Coding Table: You will have to have prepared a coding table based on your first impression from your transcriptions (first cycle coding) before applying it on NVivo.To view and export your code book: Go to “Share”, Go to “Export”, Click on “Export “Codebook”

• Step 3. Coding: Highlight what you intend to code, right click and select code. This will bring out a backdrop of the available categories and you care able to choose which categories you want to code into. You are able to double code or triple code and have daughter codes as relevant to each category. 

• Step 4. Analyze the Data: You can simply highlight/cope and post what you have coded in a word document on your computer. You can also export and download them.

Here is what a coded document looks like for a particular node or category.

Performing an inter-rater reliability check

  • Open the NVivo project that contains both users' or user groups' coding
  • In the menu bar, click on the Query tab or click on the ‘Explore’ icon on the top in the Nvivo Click Coding Comparison 
  • For User Group A and User Group B, select the users whose coding you want to compare
  • Select the files in which you want to compare the coding (e.g., Select Files and Externals to compare all data files and externals but not memos; Select Selected Items to compare selected data files, externals, and/or memos, etc.)
  • Select the codes in which you want to compare coding (e.g., Select All Nodes to compare all codes in the selected files; Select Selected Codes to compare selected codes in the selected files)
  • Under Calculations Based On, select your unit of observation (i.e., character, sentence, paragraph)
  • Click Run Query

Coding Qualitative Data (A summary and simple four step-by-step Guide to Coding Interview and Focus Groups Data)


Events Relating to the Qualitative Research and Community Engagement Workshops @ CMU Libraries


CMU Libraries is committed to helping members of our community become data experts. To that end, CMU is offering public facing workshops that discuss Qualitative Research, Coding, and Community Engagement best practices.

The following workshops are a part of a broader series on using data. Please follow the links to register for the events. 

Upcoming Event: March 21st, 2024 (12:00pm -1:00 pm)

  • Community Engagement and Collaboration Event 

    Join us for an event to improve, build on and expand the connections between Carnegie Mellon University resources and the Pittsburgh community. CMU resources such as the Libraries and Sustainability Initiative can be leveraged by users not affiliated with the university, but barriers can prevent them from fully engaging.

    The conversation features representatives from CMU departments and local organizations about the community engagement efforts currently underway at CMU and opportunities to improve upon them. Speakers will highlight current and ongoing projects and share resources to support future collaboration.

    Event Moderators:

  • Taiwo Lasisi, CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow in Community Data Literacy, Carnegie Mellon University Libraries

  • Emma Slayton, Data Curation, Visualization, & GIS Specialist, Carnegie Mellon University Libraries


  • Nicky Agate, Associate Dean for Academic Engagement, Carnegie Mellon University Libraries

  • Chelsea Cohen, The University’s Executive fellow for community engagement, Carnegie Mellon University

  • Sarah Ceurvorst, Academic Pathways Manager, Program Director, LEAP (Leadership, Excellence, Access, Persistence) Carnegie Mellon University

  • Julia Poeppibg, Associate Director of Partnership Development, Information Systems, Carnegie Mellon University 

  • Scott Wolovich, Director of New Sun Rising, Pittsburgh 


Additional workshops will be forthcoming. Watch this space for updates. 

Workshop Organizer

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Taiwo Lasisi
Wean Hall WEH 4418
Carnegie Mellon University Libraries
(414) 268-7258 | (484) 908- 5890