Sometimes I find myself in the position where I have two different versions of the same NVivo project and I’d like to copy certain project items – sources, nodes, coding, classifications etc. – from one to the other. For example, I recently created an anonymised version of a project for teaching purposes, but continued working on the original version for my own research. I then decided I’d like to incorporate some of the new nodes and coding into my teaching project. Similarly, a student came to me this week wanting to copy two interview transcripts (along with their coding) from an older version of her project into the one she was currently working on. In an attempt to keep her work backed up, she had created a few different versions over several months and had accidentally coded these interviews in the wrong project.
NVivo supports importing from one project to another, but not very flexibly. The import options only allow you to select sources or nodes etc. according to the user who created them – otherwise you have to import the whole lot.
My workaround for this is fairly simple, if a little laborious:
1. Back up the newest version of your project (just in case!).
2. Create a copy of the version you want to import from. You can either do this in Windows Explorer or via the Copy Project command on the file menu:
3. Open the copy you’ve just made and delete everything except the items you want to import. So, if you just want to import two interview transcripts, delete all the other sources. Don’t delete the nodes, or you’ll lose your coding. Or, if you want to import a group of nodes, delete all the other ones. Remember any that might be saved in different folders.
4. Save and close this project, then open the project you want to import the items into.
5. Click Project on the left hand side of the Import group on the External Data ribbon, then browse for the project you’ve just been working on. Decide whether you want to merge existing items or create new ones, then, if you want to import content (e.g. sources and coding) instead of just structure (e.g. classifications and nodes without coding), select Selected (including content) and click Options.
6. Select the items you want to import. If you’re importing a coded transcript, don’t forget to select coding as well as sources:
Once NVivo has completed the import, it will display a report showing what was imported and what was not, and the imported items will appear in the appropriate folders.
This should work fine for limited imports into projects that aren’t massively different. However, if you’ve changed the project a lot between versions NVivo may not be able to import everything. For example, if you want to import nodes and their coding but you’ve changed the names of some of your sources, NVivo won’t recognise them so won’t be able to import the coding for those sources. The report is helpful in drawing attention to anything not imported. If the import isn’t successful, you can click undo or revert to your back-up copy.