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NVivo: Introduction and Basics

An introduction and overview of NVivo to help researchers organize and analyze qualitative data.

Using Notes

As you conduct your research, you will come up with ideas, insights, and other items you will want to track so you can refer to them later. NVivo provides several options for note-taking and tracking.


Memos are notes where you record your ideas or interpretations of your data files. They are also helpful to track the analysis process of your data for future/long-term understandability and to ensure you and your collaborators have a shared understanding.

Create a new Memo:

  1. In blue Navigation View panel, expand Notes and select Memo.
  2. Right-click in whitespace of Memo panel and select New Memo.
  3. Give it an appropriate Name (required) and Description (optional).
  4. Select OK. A blank Memo will then open for you to begin adding your notes.

Link a Memo to a specific Project Item:

  1. Use blue Navigation View panel to navigate to the project item you want to link a memo to.
  2. Right-click on the project item in List View and hover on Memo Link. Click on either Link to New Memo or Link to Existing Memo.

Framework Matrices

A Framework Matrix consists of a grid that has rows for Cases (for example, people you interviewed) and columns for Codes. Each cell in the grid represents the intersection of a Case and Code – enter text into the cell to create a summary of the content relevant to that Case and Code.


Annotations are similar to margin notes that you create when coding by hand. They let you record comments, reminders, or observations about specific content in a file or code. To display, in the detailed view of a file select annotation icon at the top of the opened file.

Interview transcript detailed view with annotations selected and highlighted

To Annotate:

  1. Within a Data File, select the content you want to annotate by highlighting it with your cursor.
  2. Right-click on selected content and select New Annotation.
  3. In the Annotations tab that appears at bottom of Data File, type your annotation.
  4. You can type CTRL+SHIFT+T to insert the date and time in an annotation (optional).