Software Shiny!

Firstly, hooray I have data to analyse! Secondly, zomg I have data to analyse o.O

I am using NVivo 10, which is all kinds of software shiny for qualitative data analysis. One of the massive bonuses is that you can import and code straight to just about any kind of file. I did have a few moments of hair-tearing frustration last week trying to import some of my data. Turns out it needed codecs that were apparently not included either in the programme or on my system to work with some files. I think that is something to be aware of for any programme of this kind, especially for audio and video files and if you need your uni/work IT people who are the only people with admin rights to install them for you. The latest versions enable importing of web page snapshots and notes from your note-gathering-and-curating-software-of-choice . There are also a lot of other bells and whistles, but I am not writing this to be an advertorial for this particular programme.

What I am writing is about is that the software is a shiny tool, but it is still a tool. It doesn’t do the analysis for you, hence my introduction.  I have spent my first few hours going through the contributions from my first data point and I have the eyes of burny, the synapses of mildly stewed and the attention of wavering. It is hugely exciting and rather daunting all at the same time. This is made all the more amusing because I had thought that I didn’t have anything much in these contributions.

Cue the gameshow ‘wrong’ buzzer noise!

They may be short but they are so dense. The boon of this software for me at this point is that I do not need to transcribe anything. I can code straight to sound and video files and make it show me stripes for where my codes are sitting in relation to the duration of the recording or text. As a rather visual thinker for some things, this bit of shiny  is very appealing. It can tell me about coding density for different parts of the data but it also creates a picture of how they are related to each other. While I am using a grounded theory approach and seeking to break up the data into component parts, rather than identify topics or descriptions of experiences as you would for a narrative or phenomenological analysis, I am also interested in the interaction and the ways these parts interact.

It is still ‘me’ who is doing the coding and analysis. This isn’t a ‘set and forget’ programme that will take raw stuff and churn it into something I can then interpret, as might be done with a statistical package running a model. As a result of this I can see that I will need to take breaks from it because there is only so much of this that you can do at a time.

Yes, I’m doing all the good occupational health and safety things like taking regular breaks, standing and stretching and so on. This is thinky work as well as body work and that requires breaks too.

There is always knitting if I can’t face reading. A couple of rounds on my current seamless jumper make a good break.

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