Framework matrices help you to condense large volumes of interview material into more manageable quantities and can help you to gain insight and familiarity with your data.
Framework matrices consists of a grid that has rows for cases (for example, people you interviewed) and columns for theme nodes. Each cell in the grid represents the intersection of a case and theme—when you enter text into the cell you can create a summary of the content relevant to that case and theme.
Working with condensed files in the framework matrix can make it easier to:
- See everything about a theme by looking down a column
- See how different themes relate to each other for a particular individual by looking across a row
- Compare the experiences of different individuals by comparing one row to another
In this example, a framework matrix has been used to summarize the responses of four different people who were interviewed about volunteer work:
1 Rows—each row represents a case node. In this example, the cases are people. The row headers can display the attributes of the case—in this example, the row headers show the age of the people you interviewed.
2 Columns—each column represents a theme node.
3 Associated view—a node that (by default) displays content that is coded at the row (case). In this example, the associated view is showing Anna's interview transcript. You can change what is displayed in this view.
4 Cells—each cell is the intersection between a case and theme node. For example, the first cell in the matrix contains a summarized version of what Anna said about her experiences of volunteering.
Cells are blank when no summary has been created for the intersection between the case and themes nodes. When you first create a framework matrix in your project, all the cells are empty. As you work through your interviews or other files, you will gradually fill in the cells.
Create a framework matrix
- On the Create tab, in the Notes group, click Framework Matrix.
- Enter a name for the matrix, and optionally enter a description.
- On the Rows tab, under Rows, click the Select button and then select the cases that will be the rows in your matrix.
- (Optional) Under Row Header Attributes, click the Select button and then select up to four attributes to show in the row headers in the matrix. For example, you might want to show the Age or Gender of your interview respondents. Use the up and down arrows to order the attributes. If you include attributes, the rows in the matrix are ordered by their attribute values—otherwise the case nodes are ordered alphabetically by name.
- On the Columns tab, click the Select button, and then select the thematic codes that will be columns in your matrix.
- Framework matrices are stored in the Framework Matrices folder within the Notes group in Navigation View.
- You can only select attributes from a single classification. If you want to include case attribute values in the row headers, then you should select case nodes from the same classification—for example, cases from the classification Person.
- You can also select the nodes for your framework matrix by selecting a set, Search Folder or case classification.
Work with the associated view
The associated view is a node, containing coding references that were created by coding your files.
- Click in the associated view.
- On the Framework Matrix tab, in the View group, click Associated View, then select Row Coding, Cell Coding or Summary Links.
NOTE If the associated view is empty, check whether there is any content coded to the row (case) node. If you select to show Cell Coding, the associated view will be empty if there is no content coded to the column (theme) node. If you select to show Summary Links, the associated view is empty when there is no content linked to the current cell in the matrix.
While exploring the content in the associated view, you can display the context around a coded reference—for example, you could display the whole paragraph around a coded sentence.
- Select the reference.
- On the Framework Matrix tab, in the View group, click Associated View and then click the required context.
You can simplify the display of the associated view by hiding the coding information (file name, references or coverage).
- Click in the associated view.
- On the Framework Matrix tab, in the View group, click Associated View, and then click the information you want to show or hide.
On the Framework Matrix tab, in the View group, click Layout, and then click Right, Bottom or Hide.
Summarize the content
One of the key benefits of using a Framework Matrix is the ability to summarize your content to make it more manageable.
- Click in the cell in which you want to enter the summary.
- Read the content displayed in the associated view.
- Type your summary into the cell. You can also copy and paste text from the associated view.
- (Optional) Link text in the summary to the content displayed in the associated view.
If you have coded your files to theme nodes (as well as case nodes), you can automatically create summaries from the content coded at the row and column nodes. Textual content coded at both row and column nodes is copied into the corresponding matrix cells. You can then edit this text to reduce and synthesize the material.
- Click in the matrix.
- On the Framework Matrix tab, in the Summary group, click Auto Summarize.
- Summaries are automatically created. When the process finishes, a messages indicates how many summaries (cells) in the matrix were updated.
- If cells in the matrix already contain text, then the coded content is added to the end of the existing summary.
- Non-textual coded content is represented by its location. For picture or PDF regions, the coordinates of the region are added to the matrix cell. For audio or video media, the timespan is added to the matrix cell.
Summaries are created and viewed within a framework matrix, but each summary is stored separately in your project. If you delete the framework matrix, the summaries you created within the matrix are not deleted.
Each summary is associated with the intersection of a row and column node (the case node and the theme node).
- The summary can appear in more than one framework matrix—the summary will be displayed in any framework matrix that includes its row and column nodes.
- If you delete one or both of the nodes, then the summary is also deleted from your project.
- If you copy one or both of the nodes, then the summary is also copied with the newly created nodes.
- If you merge two nodes together, their summaries are also merged.
If you want to identify the nodes in your project that have associated summaries, you can use Advanced Find. If you want to view the summaries, you will need to create a framework matrix that includes these nodes.
A summary link provides a connection between content in the summary and the related content in the associated view.
By default, the associated view displays files that have been coded to your case nodes. If you have already created the summary, you can select content in the summary and the associated view and link them:
- In the associated view on the right, select the content that you want to summarize and link
- In the matrix, select the text you want to link (or click in the paragraph you want to link).
- On the Framework Matrix tab, in the Summary group, click New Summary Link.
Keyboard Shortcut Press CTRL+L
- You can highlight the location of summary links in the matrix cells or highlight linked content in the associated view.
- If you want to remove a summary link, click in the linked text and then click Delete Summary Link, in the Summary group, on the Framework Matrix tab.
- You can only create a summary link to content that is coded to the row (case) node. If you create a summary link to content in the associated view, and then later uncode this content (at the row node), the summary link is deleted along with the coding.
The Reference tab of the associated view can only display coded textual content.
If your project includes video or audio interviews, you can summarize media content. If you have created a transcript, coded transcript content will be visible in the Reference tab, but coded media is only viewable on the Audio or Video tabs. When you create summary links, you can link directly to the media (by selecting content on the timeline) or link to text in the transcript.
If you are working with pictures, you can summarize image content. If you have created a picture log, coded log content will be visible in the Reference tab, but coded image content is only viewable on the Picture tab. When you create summary links, you can link directly to the picture (click and drag to select a region of the image) or link to text in the transcript.
NOTE For PDF files, coded textual content is available on the Reference tab, but coded regions (of a page) are only viewable on the PDF tab. When you are working in the PDF tab you can switch between text and region selection—on the PDF tab, in the PDF Selection group, click Text or Region.
By default, the location of summary links within summaries is highlighted in red. You can turn this highlighting on or off.
- Click in the matrix.
- On the Framework Matrix tab, in the View group, click Highlight then select HIghlight Summary Links.
NOTE If you want to remove a summary link, click in the highlighted text and then click Delete Summary Link, in the Summary group, on the Framework Matrix tab.
You can highlight content (in the associated view) that is linked to text in the matrix.
- Click in the matrix or in the associated view.
- On the Framework Matrix tab, in the View group, click Highlight and then click one of the following:
- Summary Links (to show all content linked to the cell)
- Summary Links from Position (to show content that is linked at your current position or selection within a matrix cell).
Linked content is highlighted in yellow in the associated view.
NOTE When you highlight summary links, you can use the shortcut keys F3 (Next) and Shift+F3 (Previous) to move from one highlighted reference to another (in the Reference tab of the associated view).
Learn more about the Framework method
The Framework method was developed by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen). To find out more about this methodology, refer to the Framework page on NatCen's website.
If you have a project created in NatCen's FrameWork software application, you can convert it into an NVivo project and continue working with it in NVivo.