To work as a team in NVivo 12, one person needs to be designated the project lead. They would set up the NVivo project file, adding all the documents needed, setting up nodes along with their properties and hierarchies (if a codebook has been agreed upon), and setting up other details, such as case classifications. Then they would share the master project file with team members. Team members would make a copy of the file and work on it. After they have done their work, they would pass their copy of the project file back to the project lead. The project lead would then merge their copies back into the master project file. More details can be found in this article on how to setup an NVivo master project for research teams (written for NVivo 11, but still applies to 12).
- Licenses: Normally team members would each be working on their own computers with their own NVivo licenses, and all team members need to be using the same version of NVivo. Consult NVivo’s compatibility help pages for more information.
- Windows vs Mac: NVivo recommends that all team members are either all working on Windows or Macs for compatibility issues. Consult NVivo’s help pages on working on Windows or Mac for more information.
- Sharing Copies of the Master File: How you share/transfer your master file and copies will depend on how large your project file is and if you have to keep it secure. Depending on the situation, you could use UofT’s services, such as OneDrive, Sharepoint, and UTSend.
- Back up and File Names: It is recommended that you always have a backup of the master project file before you do any merging, in case the project file is corrupted during the merge, or you want to roll back to a previous version of the project. There could be a lot of copies of the project file, so make sure to establish and follow a file naming convention, such as appending a team members’ initials and the date to the project copies’ file names.
- Initials: When you first installed NVivo, you would’ve been prompted to set your initials. Anything you create or change in NVivo, will be tagged with your initials. Watch out if multiple people on the team have the same initials - make everyone's unique! You can adjust your initials, or make NVivo prompt for initials every time it opens. Consult NVivo’s help pages for Windows or Mac for more information.
- Codes: If team members are creating new codes, it might be helpful for them to put their initials in the title of the nodes to quickly see who created what (note that if the nodes list is opened up fully, you will also see initials next to nodes in the created by column). If team members create new codes, they can also take advantage of the Node properties to make notes about the node and provide some examples to remember what it means and when it is used.
- Comparing Multiple Coders: After merging project files, NVivo will open a report showing you changes. You can also create custom reports from the Share menu (Windows only). Consult NVivo’s pages on reports for Windows for more information.
Another way to view changes, is that when using coding stripes, in addition to codes, you can also select users, to see who coded what and compare (Windows only).
Another option is to run a coding comparison report to see the percentage agreement and where there are differences.
You might want to combine the two approaches, if you can – run the coding comparison report to find out which files have the biggest differences in coding, then use coding stripes on that file to look at the details. Consult NVivo’s help pages on coding stripes for Windows, and on coding comparison reports for Windows or Mac.
- Communication: Team members should meet often to discuss the coding, how the project is going, themes emerging, etc. You can also use memos in NVivo to record thoughts about the project and share thoughts with others.
- Local Files: QSR recommends that you ideally you work off a copy of your project file stored locally on your computer instead of working off a file stored on a network drive, external drive, or in the cloud. If the project file isn’t local, there is a potential that it could get corrupted. Another reason to have lots of backups! Consult NVivo’s help pages for more information on saving project files for Windows or Mac.
- Test Merge: First try doing a small amount of coding on one or two files, and then do a merge back into the master project file. This gives you an opportunity to try out the full merging process and look at the options for comparing multiple coders’ work before getting too deep into the project.
More details about these tips and other advice can be found on NVivo’s teamwork help pages for Windows or Mac.
NVivo Collaboration Cloud
NVivo Collaboration Cloud does not work with NVivo 12. Researchers often anticipate that it will function similar to a Google document, but that is not how it works. It provides cloud storage to store an NVivo project file. There is some integration with NVivo, but each person still has to download the master project file (from the Collaboration Cloud), work on it, then pass it back to the project lead to merge the changes. So, it is not much more than what you could do with UofT’s cloud services, such as OneDrive. See NVivo’s Collaboration Cloud pages for Windows or Mac for more information. There are currently no plans for UofT Libraries to subscribe to NVivo Collaboration Cloud.
Also, visit our Getting Started page for more information, tutorials, and workshops on NVivo 12!