The main features of NVivo software and the procedures of the Grounded Theory methodology:how to implement studies based on GT using CAQDA

  • Jakub Niedbalski
  • Izabela Ślęzak
Keywords: Computer-Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Software (CAQDAS), NVivo software, of grounded theory methodology.


Introduction. The aim of the article is to introduce the reader to the possibilities offered by software supporting the analysis of qualitative data in research projects based on qualitative methods. The analysis is based on NVivo software and its functions. It is emphasized in the literature on the subject that NVivo is a tool that aids research projects based on discourse analysis, grounded theory methodology, conversational analysis, ethnography, studies based on phenomenology as well as other methods, including mixed research methods (Schönfelder 2011). Nevertheless, as we ourselves employ GT in our research, we look at the described application from the perspective of this research method. Therefore, we would like to present the most important functions that NVivo has to offer and indicate their applicability within the qualitative analysis process compliant with grounded theory methodology.

NVivo as a Universal Tool. NVivo is a universal tool, equipped with a range of helpful features that should meet the expectations of researchers representing a variety of theoretical research schools and methods. Some of them are especially significant and useful for researchers who work with GT, while others will be helpful regardless of the analytical approach adopted in the project (Niedbalski, Ślęzak 2012: 156; Paulus et all. 2017; Zamawe 2016: 14).

Software Functionality and GT. From the perspective of the grounded theory methodology, the NVivo’s advantage is certainly the possibility to organize a single database from different types of source materials (Wiltshier 2011). An important feature of NVivo is also the fact that it allows to order various project components, both the source materials and all information developed by the researchers involved in data analysis, which actually is the analysis results. Researchers who apply GT will surely appreciate the possibility to write various memos and create the code tree, supporting a systematic analysis. NVivo enables to move freely between the open and axial coding, writing memos and modeling.

Software Architecture and GT. It is also worth emphasizing that the application architecture itself somewhow forces the researcher to continuously think about the relations between codes and categories, to compare and modify a system created by the researcher. It also encourages concentration on the core category, which should be the focus of the researcher's activities.