NVivo coding: three ways to keep track of progress

Coding takes time, and usually has to be done over several days or weeks. Working steadily through a set of transcripts, it’s easy to forget where you’ve got to after a break – especially if it’s a second or third round of coding (or a long break!). Here are three simple ways to keep track of which items have been coded and which you’ve yet to tackle.

1. Make a set

Sets are collections of shortcuts to project items, so you can create a set of sources that you need to code and then remove each one as you finish coding it – without deleting the source itself.

NVivo coding sets

To create a set, click on ‘Set’ on the ‘Create’ menu. Once you’ve created it, add your sources to it by right-clicking on the set and selecting ‘Add Set Members…’ from the drop-down menu, then navigate to the sources you want to add.

2. Use colours

An easy way to see which sources have been coded direct from the source list view is to assign them all a certain colour. Simply right-click on the source you’ve just coded, hover over ‘Color’ and choose the one you want. The screenshot below shows a green circle next to all the sources I’ve coded with the current nodes I’m working with, but you could just as easily mark all sources yet to be coded in, say, red.

NVivo list view using colours

To see the colours, make sure you have the column included in your list view settings, which you can change by clicking on ‘List View’ on the ‘View’ ribbon, and then ‘Customize…’.

3. Keep a memo

Finally, a less visual method of keeping track of coding is to create a memo called something like ‘Coding progress’, and note down at the end of every session where you’ve got to.

NVivo coding progress memoCreate a memo by selecting ‘Memo’ on the ‘Create’ ribbon. Each time you open your memo, don’t forget to click ‘Click to Edit’ at the top in order to change what you’ve previously written.

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