Computer-Assisted Qualitative and Mixed Methods Data Analysis: Harnessing NVivo

Key information


Qualitative and mixed methods researchers are increasingly making use of advanced computer software packages, such as NVivo, to enhance the research process and facilitate more in-depth, multi-layered analytic approaches.

This course provides a comprehensive overview of the role of NVivo in the analytic workflow, it’s architecture and available tools, and instruction in how to harness it powerfully for analytic tasks. This module is framed by the Five-Level QDA method, a computer-assisted qualitative data analysis software (CAQDAS) pedagogy designed to enable researchers to develop the expertise they need in NVivo, whatever the research objectives and methodology.

You will begin by getting familiar with NVivo, by focusing on software components, and the actions that can be taken on them to fulfill analytic tasks. You will then plan your analysis and be guided through the process of translating your analytic tasks into software tools. Throughout the course, you will use your own research data, or sample data, and we will show you how to harness NVivo using a range of different types of research projects.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Distinguish and separate analytic strategies and software tactics (T)
  • Have an appropriate mind-set for harnessing NVivo’s tools (C and K)
  • Have a detailed understanding of the architecture, functioning and flexibility of NVivo (K and P)
  • Develop technical and practical skills in the use of software for qualitative analysis (P and T)
  • Be able to translate analytic tasks into NVivo tools using the Five-Level QDA method (C and P)
  • Be able to critically evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the QDA approach (C and K)
  • Communicate their process and findings (P and T)


KSubject knowledge
PProfessional/practical skills
TTransferable skills

Course content

  • Differentiating analytic strategies and software tactics
  • NVivo features, components and tools
  • Analytic planning in the context of NVivo use
  • Setting up an NVivo project to reflect initial analytic design
  • Representing conceptual frameworks using maps
  • Strategies for using NVivo to undertake a literature review
  • Exploring data qualitatively and quantitatively: word frequency, text search and annotations
  • Conceptualising qualitative data: coding, memoing and linking
  • Organising data to factual characteristics: cases, attributes, sets and search folders
  • Identifying patterns, relationships and anomalies using query and visualisation tools
  • Representing and reporting on findings

Learning and teaching methods

  • Demonstrations
  • Hands-on workshops
  • Group discussion and feedback
  • Use of worksheets designed to translate analytic tasks into NVivo tools

Reading list

You are required to read the NVivo review (PDF) before attending this course.

We also recommend reading the following publications:

Silver, C. and Lewins, A. (2014) Chapters 2 and 7, Using Software in Qualitative Research: A Step-by-Step Guide, 2nd ed. Sage Publications.

Woolf, N and Silver, C​. (2018) Qualitative analysis using NVivo: The Five-Level QDA Method. Routledge.

Class size

Maximum of 25 people. Please note, 10 participants will be students from our MSc Social Research Methods course.

Software and equipment

Windows computers will be supplied for use during this course. If you would like to work on a Mac, please bring your own laptop with the latest version of NVivo 12 pre-installed and tested.

Software background

NVivo is one of the leading CAQDAS packages designed to facilitate the range of qualitative and mixed-methods analysis. It is widely used to undertake literature reviews, systematise analyses, aid transparency, make projects portable and work in teams. NVivo facilitates the management and analysis of text, spreadsheet, pdf, image, audio and video data, making it a relevant tool for flexible work across disciplines and sectors.

Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements for this course.

Fees and funding

Price per person:


Government and commercial sector applicants


Education and charitable sector applicants



How to apply

Applications for this course are currently closed.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and following the latest advice from the government relating to large gatherings, we have taken the decision to cancel future dates for this course, until further notice. Those who have registered for this course will be contacted directly regarding refunds. Please bear with us as this may take up to 14 working days to process. We apologise for any disappointment or inconvenience caused.

Register your interest

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Course location and contact details

Campus location

Stag Hill

Stag Hill is the University's main campus and where the majority of our courses are taught. 


University of Surrey
Surrey GU2 7XH