About classifying sources


You can use source classifications to record information about your source materials—for example, the date and time of an interview or reference information about a journal article.

Classifying information may be imported into your project—for example, when you import journal articles from a reference management tool, `or import NCapture files. You can also enter this information directly in NVivo.

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Why classify sources?

When you classify sources, you are recording information about your sources—for example, you could record:

  • Bibliographical information about journal articles or other publications—you can import this data from reference management tools like EndNote or Zotero.

  • The date and location of interviews or focus groups.

  • Any other information about your source materials that is relevant to your project.

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Classify sources by importing a literature review

If you use a reference management tool such as EndNote or Zotero to gather references (and their related articles)—you can import this data into NVivo.

When you import this bibliographical data, the associated sources are automatically created and classified—and any new classifications are added to your project.

For example, if you import a literature review that has an attached journal article called Causes and impact of climate change then:

  • The article is added as a PDF source in your project

  • The classification journal article (and its associated attributes) are added to your project

  • The article is classified as journal article and the attribute values are applied (author, year and so on)

For instructions on importing this data, refer to Exchange bibliographical data between NVivo and other reference management tools for more information.

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Other ways sources are classified automatically

NVivo automatically classifies sources that are imported from:

  • NCapture files containing content from the web. The sources are classified as 'Reference' and information associated with the web page—for example, URL and title—are stored as attribute values.

  • OneNote and Evernote. The sources are classified as 'Reference' and the associated information—for example, title and date created are assigned as attribute values

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Classify sources manually in NVivo

Typically, you classify your sources by importing bibliographical information from reference management tools like EndNote or Zotero. When you import this data, classifications and their attributes are automatically added to your project.

You can also classify your sources directly in NVivo—for example, you could classify a source as a Journal Article and specify the attributes for author and year.  Before you do this, you need to add (or create) the classifications that you want to use. NVivo provides predefined bibliographical classifications—if you use these classifications, then you can export your data to reference management applications when you are ready to write up your findings.

NVivo also provides general classifications for:

  • Interview

  • Focus Group

These classifications can help you to keep track of your sources—you can add these predefined classifications to your project and then customize them to suit your needs.

Once you have added or created the classifications, then you can classify your sources and set the attribute values—refer to Classify sources for more information.

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If you have classifying information about your sources in a tab-delimited text file or Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, you can import the data into NVivo. The data must be correctly formatted for import—refer to Import (or export) classification sheets for more information.

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What you can do with classifying information in NVivo

When you have added classifying information such as bibliographical information to your sources, you can

  • View all sources (and their attribute values) in a particular classification—refer to Use the classification sheet to see attribute values.

  • Run a query over all sources with particular characteristics. For example, run a Text Search query across all the Journal Articles published after 1995.

  • Use charts to show the distribution of your sources by attribute value. For example, if you are doing a literature review, you could create a chart to show the distribution of Journal Articles by Year.

  • Include bibliographical data when you print or export sources.

NOTE  NVivo does not provide reference styling formats—if you need to format your references for publication, we recommend you use NVivo's predefined source classifications to store bibliographical data, and then export your data to a bibliographical tool such as EndNote or Zotero.

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Export bibliographical data to EndNote, RefWorks, Zotero or Mendeley

When you are ready to start writing up your findings, you can export your bibliographical information to EndNote, Zotero, RefWorks or Mendeley, so you can cite your sources and format your references for publication.

You can export any bibliographical information stored using the predefined bibliographical classifications (these classifications have a Bibliographical ID on the classification (and attribute) properties). These classifications are automatically added to your project when you import a literature review. You can also add these classifications to your project manually, if you prefer to start gathering your bibliographical information in NVivo.

Refer to Exchange bibliographical data between NVivo and reference management tools for more information.

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