Tuesday, November 20, 2007

NVivo7 Test Drive Report #1

It HAS been a while since I posted anything here. Between hiring a new employee at work and catching some kind of flu bug in October that I've just now gotten rid of I haven't had time to post. However, I'm working on an assignment for my Advanced Qualitative Research Methods class that I thought might be interesting and/or useful. The assignment is to try out a qualitative data analysis software called NVivo7. We were required to either try it out in the qualitative computer laboratory on campus (at TWU) or download a trial version of the software to our personal computers.

Being roughly 400 miles from campus and the Qual Lab, I chose to download a trial version of QSR’s NVivo7 qualitative data analysis software. I was excited and looking forward to testing it after Mary Helen Thompson’s presentation in our October class meeting so it is probably easy to imagine my disappointment when the software did not work properly when I downloaded it. Frankly, had the assignment not specifically called for the use of this particular software, I probably would have given up at this stage and not pursued a fix both because of the limited amount of time have for this assignment and because of previous, unsuccessful, frustrating encounters with technical support personell.

However, after two unsuccessful attempts to download, install, and use the trial version of the software, I reluctantly emailed their technical support staff. I was pleasantly surprised (and not a little astonished) to received a timely, helpful response. Unfortunately, the fix they suggested did not work. On my own initiative, I uninstalled and reinstalled the software, this time noting the error messages that appeared as the installation progressed (which I evidently ignored during the first install). I replied to the technical support staff’s email explaining what I’d done and why and what had been the result. In return, I received another pleasant, clearly articulated, helpful email that walked me step-by-step through uninstalling the component software (required for running NVivo but not created or published by QSR) including things to watch out and test for. I followed the directions exactly and am now to give NVivo7 a test on several of the transcripts taken from recordings of the usability test sessions we conducted on our newly designed library web site this summer.

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