Automatic coding techniques

You can use a variety of automatic coding techniques to speed up the coding process.

Auto code documents based on structure, style or speaker

If you have applied paragraph styles in your documents you can use them to automatically code the content. You can apply paragraph styles in Word before you import the file, or you can apply them in NVivo

You can choose to auto code a single file or multiple document files. Memos and externals can also be coded this way.

Interviews auto coded by question based on heading styles.

Alternatively, if one or more documents are tightly structured—for example, paragraph 1 in each document is about fossil fuel and paragraph 2 is about government policy—you can auto code 'by paragraph'. NVivo makes a node for each paragraph and uses the paragraph number as the node name. You can rename the nodes as required.

Interviews auto coded by paragraph.

If a document has multiple 'speakers' (for example, the participants in a focus group) you can automatically create a case for each speaker and code the content at the case. This means you can open a case to see everything a particular participant said. You can also assign attribute values to the cases and use them to make comparisons - What do women say? How does it compare to what men say?

Interview transcript auto coded by speaker.

Automatic coding in documents

Auto code audio or video transcripts based on structure

You can use the values in custom transcript fields to automatically code transcripts. For example, if you added the custom field Speaker, NVivo can create a node for each speaker and code the content at that node—this way you can gather everything said by a specific person.

Auto code video transcript based on content in speaker column.

Auto code datasets based on structure

You can automatically code content in codable columns or you can use values in classifying columns to automatically code content. For example, if your dataset contains survey results, you can auto code to create a case node for each respondent and code their responses to their case node. You might use this option if you're using an earlier version of NVivo or if you need to repeat the auto coding process.

Making cases from values in a survey dataset.

NVivo provides special auto code options for datasets containing social media data—for example, in a Twitter dataset, you could create and code to a node for each hashtag.

Automatic coding in datasets

Auto code files based on existing coding patterns

Available in Plus only

Pattern-based auto coding is an experimental feature that you can test and try out. This feature is designed to speed up the coding process for large volumes of textual content.

When you auto code using existing patterns, NVivo compares each text passage—for example, sentence or paragraph—to the content already coded to existing nodes. If the content of the text passage is similar in wording to content already coded to a node, then the text passage will be coded to that node.

Pattern-based auto coding is an experimental feature that may work better for some projects than others. Automatic coding using existing coding patterns

Automatically detect and code themes or sentiment

Available in Plus only

If you are working with large volumes of data, or have limited time, you can quickly identify broad themes and sentiment in your files using the Auto Code Wizard.

This process uses a different engine to pattern-based coding—it uses linguistic processes and a specialized sentiment dictionary to produce results.

Automated insights may work better for some projects than others. Automated insights

Range coding

Range coding is also an easy way to get paper-based coding into NVivo.

You can also print out transcripts and picture logs, mark up the rows that you want to code, and then use range coding to quickly code the rows.

For example, code paragraphs 1-5 or transcript rows 3-6 at selected nodes.