Classify cases (set attribute values to record information)
You use case classifications to record descriptive information about the entities you are studying.
You can create the case classifications that suit your project and record information about the people, institutions, places or any other type of 'case' that is relevant to your research.
Why classify cases?
Classifying a case involves:
- Describing the type of case (for example - Person, Place, Organization)
- Defining the attribute values (for example - Age, Location, Size)
You use coding to connect this classification information to the qualitative data. For example, consider this passage of text:
I feel very worried about climate change, especially the impact on my children. We live on the coast so I am particularly concerned about rising sea levels and the destruction of the beautiful coral reefs. The problems seem overwhelming and I don't know where to start.
You might code the passage at the following 'theme' nodes:
- climate change
- rising sea levels
- coral reefs
- feeling overwhelmed
To collect descriptive information about the speaker, you would also code the passage at the case
- Mary (female, aged 40)
As you code more content at cases you can use queries to ask meaningful questions—How do young women respond to the challenge of climate change? Do their attitudes differ from those of older women?
How do I classify cases?
Before you can classify cases you need to setup (or import) case classifications. Case classifications describe the type of case—for example,
For each classification you can add the attributes you are interesting in collecting:
- Age group
- Country of birth
When you create a case (or edit its properties) you can assign it to a classification and define the attributes.
Assign cases to a classification
You must create at least one classification before you can classify cases.
To assign cases to a classification:
- In List View, select the cases, and then right click and choose Classification.
IMPORTANT If you change the classification of a case after you have set the attribute values you may lose data—for example, if you assign a case to the classification person, with values for age and sex, and the new classification does not have these attributes the values are removed.
Set the attribute values for cases
- On the Explore tab in the Classification Sheets group, click Case Classification Sheets.
- Select the classification for the cases you want to work with.
- Click the Classification Sheet tab at the top of Detail View.
- Select the row containing a case you want to update.
- Click the attribute value. You can select an existing value or enter a new one. Click the magnifying glass to see the list of existing values or clear the value and enter a new one.
Working with a large number of cases
If you have a lot of cases, then NVivo provides ways to speed the process up.
What form is your data in?
I have a
I have a dataset of survey responses including demographic information about respondents.
Use the Auto Code Wizard to create, classify and code at case nodes representing each of the respondents. Automatic coding in datasets
I have a dataset containing social media data.
I have created cases in my project but they are not classified yet.
Select a number of cases in List View and assign a classification. For example, select all the cases representing people you interviewed and classify them as Student. You can open the classification sheet for the classification Student and set the attribute values for each student.
You can classify cases at any stage of your project but you may want to consider the following:
- When you are collecting data make sure you record the descriptive information that supports the questions you want to ask. For example, if you want to compare attitudes based on location make sure you collect this information. You can store it directly in NVivo or in a separate file (text file or spreadsheet) and import it later.
- You need to classify cases and code content at the cases before you can use queries to ask comparative questions—such as, How are large organizations adapting to climate change? How do they differ from smaller organizations?
If you have a text file that contains demographic information about people, organizations or other cases you can import it into NVivo. For example, you could import a spreadsheet containing descriptive information about the participants in a focus group. Classification sheets
If you have a dataset file that contains information about people, organizations or other cases, you can use the auto code feature to classify the cases. For example, you could auto code a dataset containing survey responses to create cases for each respondent, you can also choose to classify the cases with the demographic information from the classifying columns in the dataset.
If you are working with datasets containing social media data imported from NCapture files, NVivo creates cases to represent each Facebook, Twitter or YouTube user when you auto code by Username. So, you can create classified cases at the same time as you auto code the dataset.
When you auto code by Username, the cases are assigned to the classification 'Facebook User', 'Twitter User' or 'YouTube User', and profile information about the user is stored as attribute values on the cases.
NOTE When you are working with a dataset containing data you imported from spreadsheets or text files, you must use a different method to create classified cases.
Review the cases in a classification
- In Navigation View, under Cases, click Case Classifications.
The classifications are displayed in List View. Click the disclosure triangle to see the cases in the classification, and again to see the attributes and attribute values for a case.
Change the classification of a case
CAUTION Changing the classification of a case may result in the loss of data—for example, if you assign a case to the classification Person, with values for age and gender, and the new classification does not have these attributes then the values are removed.
- In List View, select the case.
- On the Home tab, in the Item group, click Get Info.
If you cannot see the classification and attribute values, click the disclosure triangles to show them.
- From the Case Classification
pop-up menu, select a different classification for the case.
- To update an attribute value, double-click the value and enter or select a new one. You can also set attribute values via the classification sheet.
- To quickly change the classification for a selected case in List View, right-click and choose Classification.