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Researcher Development

Researcher Development

Using NVivo for Qualitative Analysis

Welcome to this new GW4 learning resource. All the materials that you find here have been developed by PhD students across Bristol, Bath, Cardiff, and Exeter Universities.

Many of us were new to NVivo when we started our PhD projects and know how it feels when the resources you need to help with a particular function, or just to get started with the software, are not available or hard to find. We have created videos, podcasts, notes and infographics that we wished we had access to when we started our NVivo journey. We hope that they will be useful to other doctoral students and early career researchers who are just starting out with NVivo –   to know more about a particular NVivo function or to explore new ways of using NVivo, for example, for literature reviews.

If you would like to know more about the people behind these resources and how they have used NVivo in their own projects, please see the ‘bio’ section.

About the authors

Malek El-Qallali

I am a part-time PhD researcher in the School of Management at the University of Bath. My research project is a longitudinal qualitative case study. Nvivo has been a beneficial tool, helping me to manage and analyse both primary and secondary data including semi-structured interviews, news articles, business reports, and archival data. In addition, NVivo has been useful in organising and managing my literature review. One of the things that I wish I had in my early days of the PhD is a resource package for NVivo, hence I am very passionate and proud of being part of the development team to be able to help new researchers going through similar experiences and I hope you find the resources useful.

Alisha Tuladhar

I graduated in 2021, with a PhD in the School of Management at the University of Bath. My thesis “Circular Economy and start-ups: Business Models, Collaboration, and Impact”, includes three papers, out of which one has recently been published  and the other two are in progress for publication. In the latter two, I used qualitative methods to study how organizations operationalize circular economy business models. In Years 3 and 4 I delivered two sessions on how to use NVivo and on the broader use of qualitative methods to PGT students. I am now working as a Research Fellow at the University of Surrey.

Yunyan Li

Hi everyone, I am a fourth-year PhD student in Social Policy at the University of Bristol. My research is about women’s work-life balance, and I used semi-structured interviews to collect data to understand women’s lived experiences. NVivo has been helpful for me to organise my ideas (not producing ideas) and support me to structure my thoughts. It takes time to “become a friend with NVivo”, and it takes some exercises to remember critical techniques that are important for analysing the data. I am happy to develop these resources and support new researchers to make full use of this software more efficiently and comfortably. I hope you can benefit from these resources.


Ailsa Naismith

I’m Ailsa Naismith, a researcher at the University of Bristol. I use NVivo for qualitative research into experiences of volcanic activity and risk through thematic analysis of interviews.

Adam Williams

I am a third-year PhD student based in Cardiff University’s School of Medicine. My project incorporates mixed methodologies where I use NVivo to aid in the analysis of my qualitative interviews. My use of NVivo also extends to the analysis of survey data for various projects I am involved with and using the software to aid in the analysis of literature for my thesis. I have aided in the development of these resources with the hope that future PGR’s find them beneficial.


Tracey Rosell

During my research journey I have gradually developed my NVivo skills, as I explore leadership of surgical teams. I am in the final year of my PhD at Cardiff University Business School (CARBS), and in the past months I have found using NVivo such a useful tool. This is particularly for analysing a substantial amount of qualitative data across the structure of my conceptual framework. I thought it was a great idea by the GW4 Alliance to bring together a team of students to share the skills and tips we’d learnt. I hope our combined experience gives you at least a little head start in the coming months and years.

Emily Taylor

Hi, I am a third-year PhD student in the College of Medicine and Health at the University of Exeter. My research is a mixed methods project integrating qualitative and quantitative data. NVivo has been a useful tool, helping me to organise and analyse data from my interview study with older people. When I started the PhD, I knew nothing about NVivo and felt quite daunted. It was a steep learning curve. I was keen to be involved in the development of these resources to help new researchers who are in the same position as I was. It has been great to be part of the development team and I hope that you find the resources useful.


Merve Mollaahmetoglu

Hello. My name is Merve and I am a final-year PhD student in the Psychology Department at the University of Exeter. My research focuses on understanding psychological risk factors for alcohol use disorders and mechanisms of ketamine treatment for alcohol use disorders. I have used thematic analysis as part of a PhD project examining participants’ experiences of ketamine treatment for alcohol use disorders. NVivo has been a useful tool for organising and analysing interview data and facilitating collaboration with other researchers on the team. When I started on this research project, I had to learn how to use NVivo by myself, so I hope that these resources can be helpful for fellow PGRs embarking on qualitative data analysis with NVivo.

Britta Matthes, University of Bath

While Britta was a PhD Student in the Department of Social and Policy Sciences at the University of Bath, she began working with NVivo and has been interested in CAQDAS since then. She is a Certified NVivo Expert and delivers introductory sessions to NVivo offered via the Doctoral College. Britta currently works as a Research Associate in the Tobacco Control Research Group/ Department for Health at the University of Bath and teaches Social and Public Policy at the University of Nottingham.

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